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TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) to grant explicit authority to Delaware River Port Authority police officers to inspect hazardous materials cargo and containers and to take enforcement actions in the event violations of laws and regulations are found, has been signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.
The law (S-1816) is intended to provide Delaware River Port Authority officers in New Jersey the same authority as their counterparts in Pennsylvania. It will also provide the officers with inspection and enforcement powers already granted to officers within the New Jersey State Police, the Port Authority of NY/NJ, and certain officials within the state departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection.
“DRPA officers are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of residents traveling the roadways and bridges in the region,” said Senator Norcross, chair of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. “Empowering officers to inspect cargoes and containers and to enforce penalties associated with violations of the law is critical to this process, as it will allow them to ensure that hazardous materials are shipped properly and securely when entering the state.”
Senator Norcross noted that the police officers of the DRPA have been trained to perform inspections and are knowledgeable in the federal regulations governing the transportation of hazardous materials.
The Delaware River Port Authority owns and operates four bridges connecting southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania: the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry, and Betsy Ross bridges. Through a subsidiary, the Port Authority Transit Corp., DRPA runs PATCO and also owns the RiverLink Ferry.
The Assembly approved it 52-23-2. The Senate approved the measure by a vote of 29-10.
NJ Senate Democratic Office
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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
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