Gov. Chris Christie has signed legislation that will merge the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority with the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.Supporters say the move will provide an economic boost to the Meadowlands region, while keeping in line with effective cost-saving measures.
Christie said Thursday that, while he still has some concerns with the bill, he’s discussing follow-up legislation with its sponsors, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus) and state Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge).
“Though this legislation is imperfect in its current form, I believe it is important that we act to move forward with this common sense consolidation of government to deliver savings to New Jersey taxpayers while we move forward with bipartisan agreement to address concerns with the current bill,” Christie said.
The bill will also re-establish the Hackensack Meadowlands Transportation Planning District and include a revision to an existing regional tax sharing program involving 14 municipalities across Bergen and Hudson counties.
In a joint statement, Prieto and Sarlo said the bill signing “was the right thing to do for these communities in the Meadowlands region.”
“This is common sense reform that takes into account the modern needs of these communities in Bergen and Hudson counties, including tax relief, transportation improvements and economic growth, all while providing savings,” Prieto and Sarlo said. “We are addressing some of the region’s toughest problems in a fiscally responsible way.”
In a prepared statement, sports authority CEO and President Wayne Hasenbalg said the merger “will further equip (New Jersey) with additional tools to enable it to successfully meet the emerging future challenges that are so important to the entire state.
“Although the underlying mandates remain the same for both agencies, the state of New Jersey recognizes the unique challenges facing the Meadowlands region in the years ahead,” he said. “Merging these important state agencies is a bold statement which allows the state to capitalize upon each agencies’ past achievements and current strengths to build a stronger and more vibrant Meadowlands region.”
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