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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.
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"When you're asked to cast a vote on a bill and it seems innocuous, and it's got a hidden land mine that perhaps only an expert would see, it would sort of behoove those experts to tell us in advance rather than make us look, shall we say, a little bit indecisive later on." - Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25).- NJTV
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