Assemblyman John F. McKeon (D-27th District) has introduced a bill in the New Jersey State Assembly—A-3640—which proposes amendments to the New Jersey State Highway Management Act, N.J.S.A. 27:7-1, et seq., that will expand the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s access permit purview to include the construction and maintenance of a driveway or public street or highway connecting “to a county or local road if the development on the county or local road will generate 200 or more new vehicle trips during any peak hour onto a State highway, whether or not that development has direct access to a State highway.” At first glance, this expansion of NJDOT’s permitting powers appears to be reasonable: it will remedy situations where a large-scale development is located in close proximity to and directly affects a state highway, but nonetheless avoids access permit review because its actual vehicle access is via a county or local connector road. Upon closer inspection, however, it is clear that the expansion is overly broad and could be used to require an access permit for a development on any local or county road, no matter how far removed from a state highway. For example, a development may be far removed from a state highway, but because various local and/or county roads carry traffic from the development to the same state highway, and the development creates, in the aggregate, 200 new vehicle trips on that state highway, an access permit will be required. Also, an access permit may be required if such a development creates, in the aggregate, 200 new vehicle trips on more than one state highway. It is incumbent upon private developers and their trade organizations to contact their legislators regarding A-3640 in an effort to define NJDOT’s access permit powers more narrowly. A-3640 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Transportation and Public Works Committee on November 9, 2006. – by Peter Flannery, Esq., Sills Cummis Epstein & Gross CLICK HERE TO VIEW A-3640