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, was approved yesterday by the full Senate.
The measure (S-1816) is intended to provide Delaware River Port Authority officers in New Jersey the same authority as their counterparts in Pennsylvania. The bill would 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.
“We must ensure that hazardous materials cargo entering our state is transported in the most secure manner possible. Providing DRPA officers with inspection and enforcement authority will allow these individuals to make sure proper procedures are followed and to assess penalties if a violation takes place,” said Senator Norcross, chair of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. “This will provide for heightened security on our roadways and increased safety for the residents of South Jersey.”
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 Senate approved the bill by a vote of 30-7. It now heads to the Assembly for consideration.