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Congestion Buster Task Force

Meeting Minutes

NJDOT Multi-Purpose Room, Ewing, NJ

June 5, 2001

The meeting was called to order by Pippa Woods at 1:16 p.m.

Commissioner Weinstein welcomed the group and made opening remarks. He stated that congestion costs New Jersey nearly $5 billion a year. He thanked the group for devoting their efforts and time to this important task.

Assemblyman Alex DeCroce, Chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee and sponsor of the Transportation Trust Fund Renewal Act, spoke next. Assemblyman DeCroce stated that one of the key "quality of life issues" in New Jersey is traffic. He spoke about the statutory language "capping peak-hour vehicle trips at 1999 levels" and the one-year life of the Task Force.

Task Force members introduced themselves and spoke briefly about their background, organization and transportation modes used by their members.

The material mailed out to members was then reviewed.
  • Statutory Mandate - C.27:1B-21.26 Congestion Buster Task Force (CBTF)
  • CBTF Questions & Answers
    • Recurring congestion and nonrecurring congestion
    • Supply, demand and land use management
  • Report to Legislature on Single Occupant Vehicle Trip Reduction
  • Report to Legislature on Telecommuting in New Jersey
Trends and observations were noted:
  • Congestion is not one size fits all in New Jersey. There are many different perspectives; problems in North Jersey are different than problems in South Jersey.
  • Population in New Jersey is forecasted to grow by more than one million people in the next 20 years. Approximately 800,000 new jobs will be created.
  • Other states, such as California, are focusing on the issue of congestion. The Task Force should draw upon many sources of information when conducting their study.
Organization of CBTF was discussed:
  • The Task Force will serve as an advisory body and is not subject to the public meetings law.
  • Jim Sinclair of NJBIA was selected Chairperson of the CBTF after nominations and a show of hands from the floor.
  • NJDOT will act as secretary of the CBTF and coordinate its tasks. All members should send organizational and speaker suggestions to Pippa Woods, as Secretary.
  • Resources and staff of NJDOT are available to the Task Force. NJDOT staff present at the meeting introduced themselves.
  • E-mail was chosen as the preferred means of communication. An e-mail address list was circulated among the members.
  • Action-oriented minutes will be prepared by the secretary and distributed via e-mail.
  • Meetings will most likely be held monthly. Preferred meeting days, times and locations were briefly discussed. A questionnaire on these preferences was distributed to the members.
  • No decision on specific sub-committees was made, although they will likely be formed and may evolve gradually. Conduct of meetings and rules of order will be established in the future.
  • Members may have alternates or assistants attend meetings and help with tasks. The official members of the Task Force will be expected to participate in the group's final product (report to the legislature).
Focus of CBTF was discussed:
  • Several members were concerned about the statutory language regarding "capping" trips at 1999 levels. The CBTF must define this 1999 baseline. NJDOT will assist by supplying data in this area.
  • Should final product stay within the wording of the statute (commuter options plans and peak-hour vehicles) or can it be broadened to include topics such as tourist travel and freight trips.
  • Members should come up with practical, workable solutions.
  • The first three months should be used as an educational process for CBTF members. The following organizations were identified as resources: NJDOT, NJ Transit, Transcom, TMAs, MPOs and the State Planning Commission.
  • The implementation plan may include a variety of time frames (short, medium and long-range); legislative recommendations and projects that can be quickly implemented are both suitable for inclusion in the CBTF's report.
Action for the next meeting:
  • Each member to identify/develop their list of "10 congestion hot spots" or issues.
  • Update of what NJDOT is doing - Transportation Demand Management (TDM), Congestion Corridors and Hot Spots
  • Think about what works and what doesn't work throughout the state and nationally
  • Think about speakers, presentations, sources of information from both within and outside the membership.
Sandra Brillhart, Cliff Sobel and Peter Unanue were selected by the chair to develop the agenda for the next meeting. The Chairperson stated this would be a "rolling subcommittee."

Future meeting dates were selected:
  • July 11th at 1:00 p.m. at NJDOT
  • August 7th at 9:30 a.m. at NJDOT
The meeting was adjourned at 3:03 p.m.


Task Force Members:

Asst. Commissioner Pippa Woods
Sandra Brillhart, Greater Mercer TMA
John Claffey, DVRPC
Major Lee Cartwright, NJSP
Erica Ferry, Pharmacia Corporation
Joanne Jaeger, LFR Levine
Barry Lem, L-3 Communications
Joseph Miele, NJTA, CSNJ
Anita Perez, RideWise
William Ragozine, Cross County Connection
James Redeker, New Jersey Transit
Mike Reeves, SJTPO
Martin Robins, Rutgers
Judy Schleicher
Jim Sinclair, NJBIA
Peter Unanue, Goya Foods
Joan Verplanck, NJ Chamber
Joel Weiner, NJTPA

Invited Guests:

Commissioner James Weinstein
Assemblyman Alex DeCroce
Sara Bluhm, NJBIA
Cliff Sobel, NJTPA

DOT Staff:

William Beetle
Debra Firman
Patricia Snyder
Jim Lewis
Jim Berzok
Jacqueline Briel-Fenton
Noreen Cardinali
Talvin Davis
Bob Miller
Maureen Sweet
Adnew Tessema
Thomas Thatcher

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