Senator JIM WHELAN
District 2 (Atlantic)
Permits toll-free passage on State toll roads for certain buses traveling to casinos.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning the imposition of certain tolls by the State’s toll road authorities, amending P.L.1951, c.264 and P.L.1991, c.252, and supplementing Title 39 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 1 of P.L.1951, s.264 (C.27:23-25) is amended to read as follows:
1. No vehicle shall be permitted to make use of any highway project or part thereof operated by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority created pursuant to P.L.1948, c.454 (C.27:23-1 et seq.) (hereinafter called the "Authority") except upon the payment of such tolls, if any, as may from time to time be prescribed by the Authority; provided, however, that an autobus operator who lawfully displays an electronic vehicle identification system transponder issued pursuant to section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall not be required to pay such tolls. It is hereby declared to be unlawful for any person to refuse to pay, or to evade or to attempt to evade the payment of such tolls.
(cf: P.L.2003, c.79, s.29)
2. Section 21 of P.L.1991, c.252 (C.27:25A-21) is amended to read as follows:
21. a. Except as otherwise provided in subsection a. of section 19 of this act, no vehicle shall be permitted to make use of any expressway project except upon the payment of the tolls as may from time to time be prescribed by the authority; provided, however, that an autobus operator who displays an electronic vehicle identification system transponder issued pursuant to section 3 of P.L. , c. (C. ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall not be required to pay such tolls. It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to pay, or to evade or to attempt to evade the payment of the tolls.
b. No vehicle shall be operated on any project carelessly or recklessly, or in disregard of the rights or safety of others, or without due caution or prudence, or in a manner so as to endanger unreasonably or to be likely to endanger unreasonably persons or property, while the operator thereof is under the influence of intoxicating liquors or any narcotic or habit-forming drug, nor shall any vehicle be so constructed, equipped, lacking in equipment, loaded or operated in such a condition of disrepair as to endanger unreasonably or to be likely to endanger unreasonably persons or property.
c. A person operating a vehicle on any project shall operate at a careful and prudent speed, having due regard to the rights and safety of others and to the traffic, surface and width of the highway, and any other conditions then existing; and no person shall operate a vehicle on any project at a speed as to endanger life, limb or property; except that it shall be prima facie lawful for a driver of a vehicle to operate it at a speed not exceeding a speed limit which is designated by the authority as a reasonable and safe speed limit, when appropriate signs giving notice of that speed limit are erected at the roadside or otherwise posted for the information of operators of vehicles.
d. No person shall operate a vehicle on any project at a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation thereof.
e. No person shall operate a vehicle on any project in violation of any speed limit designated by regulation adopted by the authority.
f. All persons operating vehicles upon any project must at all times comply with any lawful order, signal or direction by voice or hand of any police officer engaged in the direction of traffic upon such project. When traffic on a project is controlled by traffic lights, signs or by mechanical or electrical signals, those lights, signs and signals shall be obeyed unless a police officer directs otherwise.
g. All persons operating vehicles upon any project, or seeking to do so, must at all times comply with regulations, not inconsistent with the other sections of this act, adopted by the authority concerning types, weights and sizes of vehicles permitted to use the project, and with regulations adopted by the authority for or prohibiting the parking of vehicles, concerning the making of turns and the use of particular traffic lanes, together with any and all other regulations adopted by the authority to control traffic and prohibit acts hazardous in their nature or tending to impede or block the normal and reasonable flow of traffic upon the project; except that prior to the adoption of any regulation for the control of traffic on any project, including the designation of any speed limits, the authority shall investigate and consider the need for and desirability of the regulation for the safety of persons and property, including the authority's property, and the contribution which that regulation would make toward the efficient and safe handling of traffic and use of the project, and shall determine that the regulation is necessary or desirable to accomplish the purposes or one or some of them, and that upon or prior to the effective date of the regulation and during its continuance, notice thereof shall be given to the drivers of vehicles by appropriate signs erected at the roadside or otherwise posted. The authority may adopt regulations referred to in this section in accordance with the provisions hereof and in accordance with the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act." Regulations adopted by the authority pursuant to the provisions of this section shall insofar as practicable, having due regard to the features of the project and the characteristics of traffic thereon and except as to maximum or minimum speed limits, be consistent with the provisions of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes applicable to similar subjects. The authority shall have power to amend, supplement or repeal any regulation adopted by it under the provisions of this section. No regulation and no amendment or supplement thereto or repealer thereof adopted by the authority shall take effect until it is filed with the Office of Administrative Law, by the filing of a copy thereof certified by the secretary of the authority.
h. The operator of any vehicle upon a project involved in an incident resulting in injury or death to any person or damage to any property shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the incident, render assistance as may be needed, and give his name, address, and operator's license and motor vehicle registration number to the person injured and to any officer or witness of the injury and shall make a report of the incident in accordance with law.
i. No person shall transport in or upon any expressway project, any dynamite, nitroglycerin, black powder, fireworks, blasting caps or other explosives, gasoline, alcohol, ether, liquid shellac, kerosene, turpentine, formaldehyde or other inflammable or combustible liquids, ammonium nitrate, sodium chlorate, wet hemp, powdered metallic magnesium, nitro-cellulose film, peroxides or other readily inflammable solids or oxidizing materials, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, or other corrosive liquids, prussic acid, phosgene, arsenic, carbolic acid, potassium cyanide, tear gas, lewisite or any other poisonous substances, liquids or gases, or any compressed gas, or any radioactive article, substance or material, at a time or place or in a manner or condition as to endanger unreasonably or as to be likely to endanger unreasonably persons or property.
j. If the violation of any provision of this section or the violation of any regulation adopted by the authority under the provisions of this section would have been a violation of law or ordinance if committed on any public road, street or highway in the municipality in which the violation occurred, it shall be tried and punished in the same manner as if it had been committed in that municipality.
k. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection j. of this section, if the violation of the provisions of subsection i. of this section shall result in injury or death to a person or persons or damage to property in excess of the value of $5,000, that violation shall constitute a crime of the third degree.
l. Except as provided in subsection j. or k. of this section, any violation of any of the provisions of this section, including but not limited to those regarding the payment of tolls, and any violation of any regulation adopted by the authority under the provisions of this section shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment not exceeding 30 days or by both. A violation shall be tried in a summary way and shall be within the jurisdiction of and may be brought in the Special Civil Part of the Law Division of the Superior Court or any municipal court in the county where the offense was committed. Proceedings under this section may be instituted on any day of the week, and the institution of the proceedings on a Sunday or a holiday shall be no bar to the successful prosecution thereof. Any process served on a Sunday, or a holiday shall be as valid as if served on any other day of the week. When imposing any penalty under the provisions of this subsection the court having jurisdiction shall be guided by the appropriate provisions of any statute fixing uniform penalties for violation of provisions of the motor vehicle and traffic laws contained in Title 39 of the Revised Statutes.
m. In any prosecution for violating a regulation of the authority adopted pursuant to the provisions of this section, copies of that regulation when authenticated under the seal of the authority by its secretary or assistant secretary shall be evidence in like manner and equal effect as the original.
n. No resolution or ordinance adopted by the governing body of any county or municipality for the control and regulation of traffic shall be applicable to vehicles while upon any expressway project operated by the authority.
o. In addition to any punishment or penalty provided by other subsections of this section, every registration certificate and every license certificate to drive motor vehicles may be suspended or revoked and any person may be prohibited from obtaining a driver's license or a registration certificate and the reciprocity privileges of a nonresident may be suspended or revoked by the [Director] Chief Administrator of the [Division of Motor Vehicles] New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for a violation of any of the provisions of this section, after due notice in writing of the proposed suspension, revocation or prohibition and the ground thereof, all otherwise in accordance with the powers, practice and procedure established by the provisions of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes applicable to the suspension, revocation or prohibition.
p. Except as otherwise provided by this section or by any regulation of the authority adopted in accordance with the provisions of this section, the requirements of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes applicable to persons using, driving or operating vehicles on the public highways of this State and to vehicles so used, driven or operated shall be applicable to persons using, driving or operating vehicles on any expressway project and to vehicles so used, driven or operated.
(cf: P.L.1991, c.252, s.21)
3. (New section) a. The owner of an autobus that provides passenger service through regular route bus operations or casino bus operations to and from any casino licensed under the “Casino Control Act,” P.L.1977, c.110 (C.5:12-1 et seq.) at least one time per week may file an application with the Motor Vehicle Commission, on forms and in a manner designated by the chief administrator, for an electronic vehicle identification system transponder which, when displayed at a toll booth of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority or South Jersey Transportation Authority, will exempt the autobus, when traveling to or from a casino, from having to pay tolls, as provided pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1951, c.264 (C.27:23-25) and section 21 of P.L.1991, c.252 (C.27:25A-21). Upon receipt of the application and such other documentation as the chief administrator may require proving that the applicant provides the required service, the commission shall issue an electronic vehicle identification system transponder to the applicant.
b. The owner of an autobus which displays, at a toll booth of either of those authorities, an electronic vehicle identification system transponder authorized pursuant to subsection a. of this section while not traveling to or from a casino shall be subject to a fine of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for a second or subsequent offense.
c. The Motor Vehicle Commission shall annually verify that the owner of the autobus which has been issued an electronic vehicle identification system transponder provided passenger service to and from any casino at least one time per week. An operator who did not make at least one trip per week in the proceeding year shall be required to reimburse the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and South Jersey Transportation Authority for all tolls which would have been collected if the owner had not been issued an electronic vehicle identification system transponder.
d. For the purposes of this section:
“Autobus,” “regular route bus operation,” and “casino bus operation” shall have meanings prescribed to those terms in R.S.48:4-1.
“Electronic vehicle identification system transponder” means the device issued to drivers to electronically identify and charge vehicles for use of the State’s toll roads in accordance with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s toll collection monitoring system authorized pursuant to section 7 of P.L.1997, c.59 (C.27:23-34.2) and the South Jersey Transportation Authority’s toll collection monitoring system authorized pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1997, c.59 (C.27:25A-21.2).
4. The Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission, pursuant to the provisions of the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), and in consultation with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority, shall promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this act.
5. This act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month next following enactment.
This bill permits the owner of an autobus that provides regular route bus operations or casino bus operations service to and from licensed casinos at least once per week to apply to the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) for an electronic vehicle identification system transponder which would exempt buses from paying tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and Atlantic City Expressway. Under the bill’s provisions, the penalty for displaying such a transponder at a toll booth during travel ineligible for the exemption is a fine of $500 for a first offense and a fine of $1,000 for a second or subsequent offense.
The Motor Vehicle Commission is required to annually verify that the owner of the autobus provided service at least once per week to the licensed casinos. An operator who did not make at least at least one trip per week in the proceeding year would be required to reimburse the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and South Jersey Transportation Authority for all tolls which would otherwise have been collected.