Sponsoring NJ's pit stops

Corporations could "sponsor" New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway rest stops under a bill that passed a state Senate committee Monday.

"Providing opportunities for sponsorships will allow us to raise funds to cover the maintenance costs at rest areas...currently being paid for by state taxpayers,” Sen. Donald Norcross, the bill's sponsor, said in a statement.


Although many rest stops honor Jersey luminaries who have largely faded from memory (Joyce Kilmer, "Hap" Farley) perhaps sponsorships will prove more effective in keeping such facilities open than ourtright renaming.

Consider the fate of a rest area on I-295 in Springfield, Burlington County, which then-Gov. Christine Todd Whitman cheekily renamed in honor of radio celebrity Howard Stern in 1995. It was closed eight years later, due to state budget cuts.

Sponsorships will "help ensure that our rest areas remain accessible to travelers and tourists in our state," says Norcross, a Camden Democrat.

His optimism recalls the rosy promises of "motoring" with magical ease through the scenic splendors of the Parkway, the completion of which was promoted in the classic 1950s propaganda film below.

As the guy behind the wheel shown tooling along in a fedora puts it, finishing the parkway will usher in an era of "smooth sailing all the way."