🔺 Lawmakers say Central Jersey does exist

🔺Seven NJ counties will be included in the region

🔺The borders are controversial, but Gov. Murphy supports it

New Jersey lawmakers are preparing to officially codify something that many believe does not exist: Central New Jersey.

It's a debate that has raged for generations.

Even if (and that's a BIG if) you could get someone to agree there is a Central Jersey, an even bigger debate is likely to follow about its' boundaries.

Most could accept Middlesex, Somerset and Union Counties as a start, but what else should be included?

The full New Jersey Assembly is preparing to vote on a bill that would include seven counties in the official Central New Jersey.

Bill A4711, adds Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties to Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties as the true Central Jersey.

The Division of Travel and Tourism shall re-draw the State tourism map to create a “Central Jersey” region comprised, at a minimum of the counties of Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, and Somerset, and to incorporate the “Central Jersey” region in all regional marketing activities, including in publications and on the VisitNJ.org website. - Assembly Bill #A4711New Jersey does that now, sort of.

There are currently six "tourism regions." They are: Delaware River, Greater Atlantic City, Skylands, Gateway, Shore, and Southern Shore.

Supporters of Freiman's bill say people just don't think of New Jersey that way, and most couldn't define those regions, either.

Two Assembly committees advanced the Central Jersey bill along with three other measures that direct how state tourism dollars are spent to promote North, South and Central Jersey.

For the purposes of tourism marketing, North Jersey is defined as: Sussex, Warren, Morris, Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Hudson Counties.

South Jersey is defined as: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Atlantic, Salem, Cumberland and Cape May Counties.

Some may question whether South Jersey begins at Burlington County, but those truists who hold to only a North/South Jersey typically use Route 195 as the dividing line.

As for Central Jersey, the inclusion of Hunterdon and Ocean Counties sparked the biggest debate.

There does appear to be enough support in the Assembly to pass the measure, but it has stalled in the Senate. No Senate hearings are currently scheduled.

Gov. Phil Murphy supports this definition of Central Jersey.

The Murphy administration actually began using this definition of Central Jersey during the COVID-19 pandemic. State health officials used the Central Jersey designation to report COVID cases and track infection rates.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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