Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) said that today’s failed effort to override the Governor’s conditional veto of S-1761, the “PANYNJ Transparency and Accountability Act,” exposes the hypocrisy of New Jersey Senate Democrats.
“During debate prior to the override vote, I tried to make the point that the New Jersey Senate already has a significant oversight role with regards to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that majority Democrats have continually ignored when convenient for their political goals.
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) blasted comments by Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich who was quoted in The Record as admitting he wanted to install red light cameras “…yeah, for money reasons. There, I said it. These things generate income.”
“Mayor Sokolich has admitted that he wants the money generated by red light cameras, despite the opposition of Fort Lee residents to his plan,” said Doherty. “The Mayor has stated his intention to put cameras at lights on the edge of town where he says mostly non-residents will be ticketed. If safety was truly the goal, wouldn’t he seek to have cameras installed at the most dangerous intersections rather than the ones least likely to draw residents’ ire?”
Until Amber Light Timing Resolution, DOT Should Also Not Issue New Permits to Towns in Program
Senator Michael Doherty and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon said that it should be common knowledge at this point that the red light camera (“RLC”) pilot program is closed to new towns. The legislators reminded towns interested in the RLCs that the program is limited to 25 municipalities and all of those slots are currently full. Additionally, Doherty and O’Scanlon called on the Department of Transportation to stop issuing additional permits to towns already in the program.
“No local officials should be wasting their time, or their taxpayers’ money, continuing to pursue these flawed devices,” said Senator Doherty “With all the flaws that have been exposed in this program – and the fact that the program won’t be accepting new towns – it is totally irresponsible for any elected official to discuss entering the program.”
Warren Township has approved a resolution in support of Senator Michael Doherty’s legislation to ban the use of red light cameras in New Jersey. Members of the township’s committee unanimously approved the resolution in support of Doherty’s legislation, S-1952, which would prevent new towns from adding red light cameras and shut down cameras in towns that already use them.
“While some towns are enamored with the idea that they can use red light cameras to turn their residents into cash cows, it’s clear that others like Warren Township are willing to take a stand for what is right,” said Doherty. “Citizens across New Jersey should demand that their local elected officials follow the lead of Warren Township and say ‘no’ to red light cameras.”
Senate Again Passes Pennacchio, Doherty Measure to Study Rail Systems; Senators Urge Assembly Action
The New Jersey Senate passed Monday legislation sponsored by Senators Joe Pennacchio and Mike Doherty to create a Passenger Rail Study Commission in response to a recent Office of Legislative Services report that there are no efforts to regionalize rail lines. This volunteer commission will determine how to best utilize existing rail infrastructure.
“All rail systems should be evaluated to assure they operate in the best interest of taxpayers and commuters,” said Pennacchio, R-Morris, Passaic, Essex. “We must dedicate this commission to examine all cost-cutting solutions with our neighboring states, from consolidations to mergers, especially as two new trans-Hudson River crossing plans are being discussed by operators in New Jersey and New York.”
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) responded with dismay to published reports that prosecutions are unlikely following a criminal investigation into the collapse of MF Global and the disappearance of as much as $1.6 billion of customer funds.
“This is the first time in history that segregated funds held in customer accounts were raided by a financial firm to cover the firm’s losses,” said Doherty. “It’s almost unthinkable that the mega-rich executives at MF Global could loot the accounts of farmers and middle-class Americans and be allowed to get away with it.”
Senator Michael J. Doherty (R- Warren/Hunterdon/Somerset) issued the following statement on the Legislature’s approval of SCR-110, affirming the authority of lawmakers to require members of the judiciary to contribute for the cost of their retirement and healthcare benefits:
The recent ruling handed down by the Supreme Court establishing judges as a special, economically protected class of public workers and impervious to the rising costs of their retirement and medical care was wrong.
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) issued the following statement in response to reports that red light cameras that had previously been suspended pending the completion of timing studies have been recertified for use:
“I continue to believe that the red light camera program is misguided and will push forward with legislation to ban the use of red light cameras in New Jersey.
“The certification of the 63 red light cameras in question does nothing to address the propriety of the program as a whole.
Urges DRJTBC to Cancel Plan to Replace Safe, Free I-95 Bridge with New Tolled Bridge
The Township of Kingwood in Hunterdon County is the latest local government to join Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) in opposition to a plan to replace the safe and free I-95 Scudder Falls Bridge over the Delaware River with a new tolled bridge that would cost an estimated $330 million. Doherty, a long-time critic of wasteful spending practices at the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, has called for local officials to examine and express their opposition to the unnecessary bridge replacement plan proposed by the bi-state agency.
“The residents of Kingwood should be proud to know that their local government is standing up for them and opposing the imposition of unnecessary tolls and toll increases that would result from the Scudder Falls Bridge project,” said Doherty. “As more local governments stand up and express their disapproval, leaders in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania will be forced to scrutinize the Scudder Falls Bridge project and ask the DRJTBC to justify this seemingly indefensible plan.”
Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) said that although a decision to temporarily suspend the issuance of tickets at 63 of 85 red light cameras in New Jersey is a good start, a permanent ban on all cameras is still needed.
“We’ve heard complaints from motorists that some yellow lights aren’t timed correctly or may actually have been shortened at intersections where red light cameras are installed,” said Doherty. “This is especially concerning since the statute permitting the use of red light cameras requires speed studies at intersections prior to camera installation to properly set the yellow light cycle according to a very specific calculation. The action by the New Jersey Department of Transportation to suspend enforcement at many intersections is recognition that those required studies were never completed as required by law.”