NEWARK – Somerset County Freeholder Deputy Director Peter S. Palmer was elected Chair of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) at the Jan. 11 Board of Trustees meeting.
“I am honored that my fellow Board members have chosen me to again serve as chair of the NJTPA,” said Palmer, who previously was chair from 2004 to 2006. “This is a critical time for transportation in our region, particularly the Gateway trans-Hudson project. Our economy is rebounding, and we must support it by addressing our growing infrastructure needs. I look forward to working with the Board and all our partners to improve our critical transportation systems.”
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.
Freeholder Palmer has been an NJTPA trustee since 1999. He is also the founder and chair of the NJTPA’s Freight Initiatives Committee, which works with transportation agencies, the private sector and county and municipal governments to improve goods movement in the NJTPA region. It serves as a forum for discussion of critical freight-related issues.
His term as NJTPA Chairman will last two years, ending in January 2018.
Freeholder Palmer joined the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 1997. Before being elected to county government, he served as mayor, councilman and a school board member in Bernardsville. He has been recognized on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for 50 years of continuous public service.
A passionate rail advocate, Freeholder Palmer is also the chair of the Board of Trustees of the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, a non-profit, bi-partisan group of Raritan Valley Line riders, municipal elected officials and representatives from the counties of Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex and Union. In that capacity, he has been a vocal proponent of the need for additional passenger rail capacity under the Hudson River.
NJTPA Board of Trustees Executive Committee
At the meeting, the NJTPA Board also selected four other members of its Executive Committee. In addition to Freeholder Palmer, the elected members of the Executive Committee are: Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada, First Vice-Chair; Hunterdon County Freeholder Matthew Holt, Second Vice-Chair; and Morris County Freeholder Director Kathryn A. DeFillippo, Secretary. In accordance with NJTPA bylaws, Palmer appointed Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo to the position of Third Vice-Chair.
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.
The NJTPA is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for 13 northern New Jersey counties. Under federal legislation, MPOs provide a forum where local elected 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 Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a Citizen’s Representative appointed by the Governor.