Section: Words and phrases defined
The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. In recent years, New Jersey has experienced explosive growth in certain regions, often along State highway routes and in urban areas experiencing rapid redevelopment. These "growth corridors" and "growth districts" are vital to the State's future but also present special problems and needs since they do not necessarily reflect municipal and county boundaries.
b. Growth corridors and districts are heavily dependent on the State's transportation system for their current and future development. At the same time, they place enormous burdens on existing transportation infrastructure contiguous to new development and elsewhere, creating demands for expensive improvements, reducing the ability of State highways to provide for through movement of traffic and creating constraints on future development.
c. Existing financial resources and existing mechanisms for securing financial commitments for transportation improvements are inadequate to meet transportation improvement needs which are the result of rapid development in growth areas, and therefore it is appropriate for the State to make special provisions for the financing of needed transportation improvements in these areas, including the creation of special financing districts and the assessment of special fees on those developments which are responsible for the added burdens on the transportation system. Creation of these special financing districts provides a mechanism in which the State, counties and municipalities will have the means to work together to respond to transportation needs on a regional basis as determined by growth conditions rather than upon the pre-existing municipal and county boundaries. The district becomes the framework for a public-private partnership in meeting the transportation needs of New Jersey. Counties are to be the lead agencies in creating these multi-jurisdictional districts, recognizing that in some instances, given growth patterns of a region, that areas from more than one county may be included within a district. Should a county fail to participate in the creation of a needed district, the State or municipality can initiate the creation of a district.
d. Any of these assessments of special fees should be assessed under a statutory plan which recognizes that: (1) the fees supplement, but do not replace, the public investment needed in the transportation system, (2) the costs of remedying existing problems cannot be charged to a new development, (3) the fee charged to any particular development must be reasonably related, within the context of a practicable scheme for assessing fees within a district, to the added burden attributable to that development, and (4) the maximum amount of fees charged to any development by the State or county or municipality for off-site transportation improvements pursuant to this act or any other law shall not exceed the property owner's fair share of such improvement costs. In determining the reasonableness of a fee assessed in accordance with the provisions of this act, it must be recognized that government must have the flexibility necessary to deal realistically with questions not susceptible of exact measurement. It is furthermore necessary to recognize that precise mathematical exactitude in the establishment of fees is neither feasible nor constitutionally vital.
e. The development of special financial mechanisms to meet the needs of growth corridors and districts should be accompanied by the development of strategies to improve regional, comprehensive planning in these areas, to encourage transportation-efficient land uses, to reduce automobile dependency, and to encourage alternatives to peak-hour automobile trips.
L.1989, c.100, s.2.
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