Bills Aim to Increase Representation & Citizen Input in Atlantic, Cape May and Ocean Counties
A bipartisan bill package sponsored on the democratic side by Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Bob Andrzejczak (both D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland) to boost South Jersey’s representation on critical transportation issues was advanced by an Assembly panel on Monday.
“In many ways, the southernmost counties in New Jersey are often forgotten when it comes to transportation issues because we are not located in some of the more highly congested areas of the state,” said Albano. “However, as a critical tourism gateway, a reliable transportation system is key to making our area more attractive to visitors and boosting overall revenue for the state. Making sure we have equal representation and inclusion will help us achieve that.”
The first bill (A-2529), approved by a vote of 9-1-2, would require that each calendar year, no fewer than two regular meetings of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority shall be held in the area comprising Atlantic, Cape May, and Ocean counties, and authority meetings held in that area shall rotate among those respective counties. The bill would also require that at least one regular meeting of the authority be held in Bergen County and another be held in the area comprising Salem, Gloucester, and Camden counties each year to more fairly represent the state’s needs as a whole.
Currently, regular meetings of the authority are open to the public and are held on a monthly basis at the authority’s administration offices in Woodbridge.
“Moving forward, any transportation decisions should incorporate the views of New Jersey’s southernmost counties so that the needs of our state are fairly represented across the board,” said Andrzejczak. “By increasing our representation and the opportunities for our citizens to voice their input, we can help ensure that our transportation needs are adequately considered.”
The second bill (A-2550), approved by a vote of 10-2, would require that the membership of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority must include at least one member who is a resident of Atlantic County, Cape May County, or Ocean County; at least one who is a resident of Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, or Salem County; at least one who is a resident of Mercer County, Middlesex County, or Monmouth County; and at least one who is a resident of Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Union County, or Passaic County.
The measures were approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee and now await consideration by the full Assembly.