Chiaravalloti, McKnight, Wisniewski & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Require Local Approval of Jitneys Gains Assembly OK
(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Nicholas Chiaravalloti, Angela McKnight, John Wisniewski and Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsored to help enhance the safety of jitney buses traveling on New Jersey roads gained approval from the General Assembly on Thursday.
Introduction of the measure followed the October 2016 death of George Gonzalez, an 11-year-old Jersey City boy who was fatally struck by a jitney bus at an intersection. Because local city councils and township committees have no authority to regulate the vehicles, the entities in the best position to prevent and respond to such tragedies in their own communities currently cannot do so, the sponsors noted.
“The tragic loss of 11-year old George Gonzalez was a sad reminder of how vital it is to regulate commuter buses and ensure that they serve their communities safely,” said Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson). “We need to empower local communities who are dealing with these public safety issues. This legislation aims to give the power back to the municipalities where these autobuses operate.”
The bill (A-4323) calls for local approval of privately-owned, low-cost commuter shuttle buses that operate on public roads in New Jersey, colloquially referred to as “jitney buses.” Under the legislation, owners of the vehicles would be required to register the buses with each municipality in which they wish to operate and receive approval to conduct business from each municipality’s governing board.Read more
Johnson, Vainieri Huttle, Quijano & Holley Bill to Make Driver’s Licenses Expire on Motorists’ Birthdays Signed into Law
Law Aimed at Reducing MVC Congestion on Last Day of Each Month
(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Gordon Johnson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Annette Quijano and Jamel Holley sponsored to reduce lines and wait times at New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission offices was signed into law on Friday.
Under former law, driver’s licenses expired every four years on the last day of the calendar month in which the license was issued. Under the new law (A-4115), a motorist’s driver’s license will expire every four years on his or her birthday.
“One of the top concerns among many New Jersey drivers is the long wait for a simple driver’s license renewal at the local MVC office,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “Shifting the expiration date from the last day of the month to an individual’s date of birth will ensure that everybody doesn’t end up at the office all at once.”
“Drivers who want to get their licenses renewed in New Jersey will spend an hour waiting to do something that really only takes a few minutes,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Changing the deadline to the driver’s birthday is a common-sense solution that most states in the country already have implemented.”
“The last-minute rush at the end of the month is overwhelming for drivers who want to renew their licenses and for MVC employees alike,” said Quijano (D-Union). “Staggering renewals throughout each month will yield a better, more efficient experience for everyone involved.”
“Oftentimes the MVC experience is either a story of frustration or the punch line of a joke. It has a reputation for being unpleasant, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Holley (D-Union). “Distributing the deadlines for renewal throughout each month is a simple fix that can alleviate a lot of the stress drivers deal with at the local MVC office.”
The new law will take effect in seven months and apply only to licenses and cards issued or renewed on and after it takes effect.
Johnson, Vainieri Huttle, Quijano & Holley Bill to Make Driver’s Licenses Expire on Motorists’ Birthdays Heads to Gov’s Desk
Legislation Assembly Democrats Gordon Johnson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Annette Quijano and Jamel Holley sponsored to reduce lines and wait times at New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission offices gained final legislative approval from the full Senate on Thursday.
Under current law, driver's licenses expire every four years on the last day of the calendar month in which the license was issued. Under the bill (S-2564/A-4115), a motorist's driver's license would expire every four years on his or her birthday.
"One of the top concerns among many New Jersey drivers is the long wait for a simple driver's license renewal at the local MVC office," said Johnson (D-Bergen). "Shifting the expiration date from the last day of the month to an individual's date of birth will ensure that everybody doesn't end up at the office all at once."
"Drivers who want to get their licenses renewed in New Jersey will spend an hour waiting to do something that really only takes a few minutes," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). "Changing the deadline to the driver's birthday is a common-sense solution that most states in the country already have implemented."Read more
Pei-Sze Cheng, NBC News 4 New York
A New Jersey lawmaker is calling for a legislative hearing a day after an I-Team investigation exposed a lack of required highway signs in the state.
“I was outraged,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle, deputy speaker of the New Jersey legislature and vice chair of the Assembly transportation committee.
“This is basic maintenance, it doesn’t cost a lot of money and it should be corrected,” she said.
On Tuesday, the I-Team highlighted the lack of signage on major highways in New Jersey, like on Route 4 and Route 46.
Vainieri Huttle Legislation Urging Port Authority Not to Recognize NY Transportation Inspector General Clears Panel
Legislation Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsored to denounce a recent single-handed effort by New York to introduce an office overseeing the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey - a bi-state agency - was advanced Thursday by an Assembly committee.
The resolution (AR-226) objects to New York legislation creating the Office of the Inspector General of New York for Transportation. The legislation gives the office the power to investigate and prosecute criminal and unethical conduct at transportation entities, including the Port Authority.
The establishment of the office violates the terms of the Port Authority Compact, an agreement between New Jersey and New York that New York is not permitted to unilaterally modify, said Vainieri Huttle. The Port Authority, which already has an Office of Inspector General, does not require a new office that answers only to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, she noted.Read more
Hannington Dia, Hudson Reporter
New Jersey Transit held two public hearings on the planned Hudson-Bergen Light Rail extension into Bergen County on April 24. The project would add seven new stops to the existing service, all north along a 10-mile CSX railroad right of way, between 91st Street in North Bergen and Englewood Hospital and Medical Center. (Separately, the system also plans to add a stop in Jersey City off Route 440 near a proposed massive development.)
The system currently has 24 stations in Hudson County, through North Bergen, Union City, West New York, Weehawken, Hoboken, Jersey City, and Bayonne.Officials and residents convened on April 24 at the Crowne Plaza Englewood Hotel to give their thoughts on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, an overview of the seven-stop addition.
The stops won’t be built any time soon. NJ Transit estimates they would open at the earliest in 2029.
“I think the expansion of the light rail will only further help Northern Jersey and Jersey City continue th[eir] growth,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who attended the hearing.
He noted, “We have seen unprecedented growth, over the last 15 years. Look at where the development pockets are; they mirror exactly the light rail stops through Jersey City. Thousands and thousands of units grow, because of the light rail.”
Prieto & Vainieri Huttle Bill to Provide Immediate Job & Economic Development Infusion Signed into Law
Law Provides $400 Million in Immediate Transportation Spending
(BORDENTOWN) - Legislation Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsored to provide an immediate job and economic development infusion through $400 million in transportation improvement projects was signed into law on Monday.
The law (A98) appropriates $260 million to the Department of Transportation for the purposes of repairing roads and bridges in all 21 counties in the state. It also provides $140 million to NJ Transit for technology improvements and system safety.
The sponsors said the money will be expended in the first 100 days following enactment.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record
Gov. Chris Christie on Monday signed a bill authorizing $400 million in spending on transportation projects over the next three months.
The spending is in addition to the $1.6 billion the state has already dedicated to road and bridge work from its Transportation Trust Fund for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The bill Christie signed Monday, A-98, dedicates $260 million to road and bridge projects and $140 million to NJ Transit for safety and technology upgrades.
"DOT is ready. The project list is done. There's something in all 21 counties across the state, so everyone is going to see improvement from this in every corner of the state of New Jersey," Christie said at a bill-signing ceremony at the Laborers' International Union of North America's South Jersey chapter, in Bordentown.
NJ Transit adds $32.5 million for positive train control
Christie did not take questions after signing the bill, declining to address a Washington Post report that he will lead a national drug commission focused on combating opioid abuse. President Donald Trump is expected to make an announcement later this week, The Post reported. The two met for lunch last month to discuss drug policy.
Larry Higgs, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Gov. Chris Christie's proposal to pump $400 million into state transportation projects this fiscal year is a signature away from reality.
The idea that Christie proposed during his budget address on Feb. 28 now goes to his desk after being approved by the state Assembly Thursday.
The Assembly approved a revised bill Thursday by a vote of 67 to 3, with four members abstaining. It allocates $260 million for roads and bridges and $140 million to NJ Transit projects. It brings the fiscal year 2017 expenditure of money for projects from the Transportation Trust Fund to a total of $2 billion for the year to tackle the backlog of projects.
"I think accelerating the expenditure of TTF funds is a good thing, as it's in accord with the program goal of $2 billion per year," said Martin Robins, director emeritus of the Voorhees Transportation Institute at Rutgers. "I would feel more comfortable with this bill, if the administration had been required to identify how the money would be used."
Robins said NJ Transit would likely use its share to comply with a federal deadline of Dec. 2018 to make a safety system known as Positive Train Control operational.Read more
Eustace, Vainieri Huttle, Caride, Muoio, Lagana, Lampitt & Mukherji Bill to Require Emergency Response Plans for High-Hazard Rail Clears Assembly
Measure Sets Emergency Preparedness Standards for Transport of Oil, Other Hazardous Substances
(TRENTON) - Legislation Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Marlene Caride, Elizabeth Muoio, Joseph Lagana, Pamela Lampitt and Raj Mukherji sponsored to require those transporting hazardous products by rail to develop emergency preparedness plans was passed by the full Assembly, 54-16-4, on Thursday.
"New Jersey has a strong history of environmental protection, and by working to mitigate the impact of an accident before it even happens, we can continue building on that history," said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic), chair of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee. "Those who own and operate oil trains and other locomotives transporting hazardous materials have a responsibility both to be proactive about preventing catastrophes and to be prepared to react swiftly if they do occur."
The bill (A-2463) would require the owner or operator of a high-hazard train traveling in New Jersey to submit a discharge response, cleanup and contingency plan to the Department of Environmental Protection. The bill defines a high-hazard train as "any railroad locomotive propelling a railroad tank car or connection of railroad tank cars transporting 200,000 gallons or more of petroleum or petroleum products or 20,000 gallons or more of hazardous substances other than petroleum or petroleum products."
The plan required by the bill must include a detailed description of the planned deployment of personnel and equipment in the event of an emergency, the chain of command for the emergency response measures, an identification of all equipment available for emergency response and contact information for the train operator's emergency response coordinators. The bill also requires each plan to include wildlife protection strategies certified by a marine biologist and an ornithologist.
The plan, which is to be renewed every five years, must comply with DEP regulations, receive approval from a licensed professional engineer and be consistent with applicable local, regional and state emergency response plans. The measure requires owners and operators to conduct an annual emergency response drill to determine the plan's adequacy and personnel's familiarity with the plan.Read more