New Jersey task force would review transportation consolidation
December 28, 2020
In pursuit of improved efficiency and saving the state money, one bill moving through the New Jersey Senate would set up a task force to look at possible consolidation of multiple transportation agencies.
The Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill to create the New Jersey Consolidation Transportation Task Force.
Sponsored by Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, the bill would create a task force to investigate and evaluate the consolidation of five transportation agencies. Specifically, the bill covers the New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Turnpike Authority, New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority, South Jersey Transportation Authority, and the New Jersey Transit Corp.
“The purpose of this task force is to provide a professional evaluation of the current operations of each individual agency in order to gauge the best practices and strategies for their future merger,” Gopal said in prepared remarks.
He added that the analysis “will be taken into account when recommending a new, consolidated governance structure for the state’s transportation system, ensuring we can have an effective and efficient merger.”
Gopal added during committee testimony the bill does not “force” consolidation.
“We’ve talked a lot in New Jersey about how much government we have,” Gopal testified. “I think it is well worth, at least at a minimum, looking at our transportation costs and how we are spending (money).”
Task force structure and responsibility
The task force would be made up of seven members. Three members would be appointed by the governor. Another four members would be appointed by leading Assembly and Senate lawmakers.
Two of the appointments from the governor must have a professional background and expertise in transportation policy. The third appointment by the governor must have a professional background and expertise in public finance.
The group would have one year to meet and draft a report for the Legislature and governor detailing the steps toward consolidation. The report must include potential issues posed by the consolidation and a detailed accounting of cost savings.
Mergers in other states also could be included in the evaluation.
The bill, S1764, awaits further consideration in the Senate. LL