No shortage of suggestions for extra DRPA funds

The Delaware River Port Authority is trying to get out of the economic-development funding business, but still has millions of dollars once intended for that purpose.

At the same time, the Food Bank of South Jersey is facing a $300,000 deficit and a lot of hungry clients visiting its food pantries and soup kitchens.

to talk about how to face its $300,000 deficit.

Val Traore, food bank CEO, said she’s not suggesting her organization deserves money more than others.

“But it was something that was approved by the DRPA’s board back in 2009 as a way to help South Jersey Food Banks to keep the constant flow of food that is needed,” she said. “So we were promised something in ’09, we had every reason to believe we would get it shortly. We’ve been waiting for it since then.”

Traore said her group’s budget problem is a result of a $265,000 cut in funding from the federal Department of Agriculture and weaker than expected ticket sales for a fundraising event.

AAA has called on the DRPA to spend the funds on projects that benefit motorists. A representative has suggested that the ongoing Walt Whitman redecking project would be a good example of that.

Spokeswoman Jenny Robinson said AAA wants motorists’ toll money to go to transportation-related projects.

“To the extent possible, AAA believes the unspent money should be used for projects that benefit the motorists who pay tolls every day on DRPA bridges and the commuters on the PATCO High Speed Line.”

The DRPA board voted in August 2010 to end the controversial economic development program, which spent toll revenues on such things as stadiums, concert halls, and monuments.

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