TRENTON, NJ - The New Jersey Senate has passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by the 9th District legislative delegation requiring at least one member of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to be from South Jersey.

The measure, S-1674, sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, would require at least one member of the Turnpike Authority must be a resident of Ocean, Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester or Salem County.

Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove are prime sponsors of the identical companion measure, A-3817, which is awaiting action by the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.

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The 9th District delegation issued the following statement subsequent to the Senate’s approval of S-1674:

“Requiring South Jersey representation on the Turnpike Authority would provide the strong voice that our area of the state has been missing for too long. Having a representative from the southern end of the state is only sensible and fair when considering that such a large segment of the Garden State Parkway runs through our area of the state.

“Local residents are tired of the backroom political gamesmanship that favor one area of the state over another. This particular issue draws the ire of many of our constituents after having been targeted by the Corzine toll hikes years back. The powers that be saw fit to impose toll hikes on these commuters but, in typical Trenton fashion, have shown no interest in providing these toll payers with any representation on the Turnpike Authority.

“Consistent with our efforts in fighting for representation on the Turnpike Authority, we are also sponsoring legislation to require that at least two regular meetings of the Turnpike Authority be held in the Ocean-Atlantic-Cape May area. Local residents would have the opportunity to engage in the decision-making process involving infrastructure projects in their area as the legislation requires meetings to be rotated among those counties.”

Under S-1674, At least one member must be a resident of Mercer County, Middlesex County, or Monmouth County and at least one member must be a resident of Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Union County, and Passaic County.