(TRENTON) – Seeking to increase transparency in state governmental infrastructure spending, Assembly Members Benjie Wimberly, Daniel Benson, Ralph Caputo, Annette Quijano, Angelica Jimenez and Thomas Giblin sponsored legislation requiring the Commissioner of Transportation to publish notice of certain transportation-related infrastructure on the department’s website. The bill cleared the full Assembly by a 76-0-0 vote Thursday.
“The people of our great state ought to know what projects their tax dollars are being used for,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This will make government spending more transparent.”
Under the bill (A-1130), the Commissioner of Transportation, in consultation with the Chief Technology Officer, would design, develop, maintain and operate a searchable website with the capacity to retain and display data and information pertaining to the allocation and spending of federal funds made available to the state for transportation-related infrastructure projects.
“Not only will this increase transparency in spending,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex), “but it will also allow us to shine a light onto minority and women owned businesses.”
This is a reference to a clause in the bill which mandates the Commissioner to publically note on the website whether the entity responsible for coordinating and conducting the project being searched is certified as a minority or women owned business by the Director of Revenue and Enterprise Services. Further, the number of state residents, women and minorities employed as a result of the project would be posted.
“All we are trying to do show our residents all the tremendous projects we are undertaking in our efforts to make New Jersey better every day,” said Caputo (D-Essex). “New Jerseyans will be able to see what projects are underway and how much they will cost.”
The state comptroller would also submit a report each year on the monitoring of the website.
“It’s about time we had a law like this,” said Quijano (D-Union). “These infrastructure projects are some of the most costly in our state, and our citizens have the right to know precisely what that cost is.”
“This will give a deserving recognition to our minority and women owned businesses,” said Jimenez (D-Bergen/Hudson). “People will be able to see how they positively impact our communities.”
“Transparency is always a good thing,” said Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic). “Anything we can do to increase transparency is a win for all New Jerseyans.”
The bill was initially advanced through the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee on May 10 and now heads to the Senate.