A bill released from the Assembly Transportation Committee last week would let companies sponsor rest stops along New Jersey highways.The measure
was sponsored by Assemblywoman Celeste M. Riley (D-Salem), Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli (D-West Deptford) and Assemblyman Craig J. Coughlin (D-Woodbridge).
The bill would let the New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Turnpike Authority and South Jersey Transportation Authority sell sponsorships to help fund the maintenance and upkeep of state highway rest areas. The sponsorships could be exchanged for cash, or for products and services.
Coughlin said it’s unclear just how much money such a program would generate.
“That remains to be seen. It depends on how many advertisers there are,” he said. “At a minimum it’s helpful. At best it’s best it’s extremely helpful.”
At last week’s committee meeting, Riley said the measure is “long overdue” and said other states are moving forward with similar plans.
Coughlin previously sponsored a measure to allow advertising at toll plazas, but he said that idea never came to fruition because it conflicted with federal regulations. He’s confident there’s no such conflict in this case.
Coughlin said the bill allows the transportation agencies to set rules and guidelines for sponsorships and ads, which he said should head off any aesthetic concerns.
“I’m confident that NJTA, SJTA and DOT will come up with rules so that the ads are tasteful and that they’re not they don’t diminish travel experience in New Jersey,” he said. “We do want people to come back.”