njtpa chairman thomas degisePHOTO: Thomas DeGise,  NJTPA Chairman

NEWARK, NJ – Hudson County Executive Thomas DeGise was elected Chairman of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) at today’s Board of Trustees meeting. The NJTPA oversees regional transportation planning and annually authorizes more than $1 billion in federal surface transportation funding for 13 counties in northern and central New Jersey.

“It’s an honor to have been chosen by my fellow Board members to serve as NJTPA Chairman,” said DeGise, who joined the NJTPA Board of Trustees and its Executive Committee in 2006 and previously represented Jersey City on the NJTPA. “Northern New Jersey’s transportation system impacts our lives in so many ways, from the strength of our economy, to public safety, to the quality of the air we breathe. I’m eager to get to work on improving this critical asset for the millions of residents and workers who depend on it each day.”

At the meeting, the NJTPA Board also selected four other members of its Executive Committee. In addition to DeGise, the elected members of the Executive Committee are: Ocean County Freeholder James F. Lacey, First Vice Chairman; Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada, Second Vice Chairman; and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr., Secretary. In accordance with NJTPA by-laws, DeGise appointed Somerset County Freeholder Peter S. Palmer to the position of Third Vice Chairman.

The Executive Committee provides guidance and leadership to the full Board on a wide range of planning, policy and administrative issues. It meets as needed to review financial, personnel and policy matters. Board membership is an uncompensated position.

County Executive DeGise served as First Vice Chairman of the NJTPA Board and Chairperson of the NJTPA’s Project Prioritization Committee in 2013. His term as NJTPA Chairman will last two years, expiring in January 2016.

The County Executive took office after winning a special election in November 2002. Prior to serving as County Executive, Mr. DeGise — a lifelong Jersey City resident — was Jersey City’s longest serving Municipal Council President, holding that office from 1993 to 2001.

He was a teacher and administrator in the Jersey City school system since 1975 and entered public life as a community leader during the 1980s, founding a school neighborhood association and eventually chairing the Heights Coalition of Neighborhood Associations, a group dedicated to improving quality of life in the city’s Heights section.

The NJTPA is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for 13 northern New Jersey counties. Under federal legislation, MPOs provide a forum where local officials, public transportation providers and state agency representatives can come together and cooperatively plan to meet the region’s current and future transportation needs. It establishes the region’s eligibility to receive federal tax dollars for transportation projects.

The NJTPA Board consists of one local elected official from each of the 13 counties in the region (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren), and the cities of Newark and Jersey City. The Board also includes a Governor’s Representative, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Executive Director of NJ Transit, the Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a Citizen’s Representative appointed by the Governor.