Ocean County Commissioner John P. Kelly was elected to a two-year term as Chair of the NJTPA at the January 8 meeting.
“I am honored that my fellow Board members have entrusted me to serve as chair of the NJTPA,” Commissioner Kelly said. “This is an exciting time for transportation in our region, as billions in federal infrastructure funding flows to our region. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Board, our many partners and the NJTPA staff to improve transportation for our region’s 7 million residents, including all those who call Ocean County home.”
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.
Chairman Kelly also recognized outgoing chair John W. Bartlett
, a Passaic County commissioner.
“Commissioner Bartlett did a great job leading this board,” Commissioner Kelly said. “He was focused on securing and maintaining federal funding, and under his leadership the Board adopted a $14 billion Transportation Improvement Program — our largest yet. I thank him for his leadership and look forward to continuing our work together.”
Commissioner Kelly has been in office since 1993 and joined the NJTPA Board of Trustees in 2016. He was elected First Vice Chair in 2022 and served a term as Second Vice Chair prior to that. He has chaired both the Project Prioritization and Planning & Economic development committees and has served as vice chair of the Freight Initiatives Committee during his tenure.
He serves as chair of the Ocean County Office of Engineering, working closely with staff annually overseeing more than $40 million in infrastructure improvements focused on road safety. He is also the liaison to the Ocean County Road and Bridge departments, overseeing the maintenance of more than 1,600 county lane miles and almost 260 bridges and culverts. He is a resident of Eaglewood Township.
There are several NJTPA-funded initiatives underway in Ocean County, including a study exploring ways to mitigate congestion on Kennedy Boulevard and County Line Road in Lakewood. The NJTPA also recently provided the county with a nearly $1.6 million grant to improve safety and overall operations at Hooper Avenue and Church Road/Kettle Creek Road in Toms 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 Commissioner Kelly, the elected members of the Executive Committee are: Middlesex County Commissioner Charles Kenny, First Vice Chair; Warren County Commissioner Jason Sarnoski, Second Vice Chair; and Morris County Commissioner Stephen H. Shaw, Secretary. In accordance with the bylaws, Chairman Kelly appointed Union County Commissioner Bette Jane Kowalski 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 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 President and CEO of NJ TRANSIT, the Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a Citizen’s Representative appointed by the Governor.
Photos by Ed Murray