This is an action in lieu of prerogative writs brought by plaintiffs, taxpayers of Cinnaminson Township, seeking to test the constitutionality of chapter 192 of the Laws of 1960 and to have the court invalidate the ordinance of Cinnaminson Township creating The Cinnaminson Municipal Port Authority.
The Attorney General, on behalf of the State of New Jersey, was granted leave to intervene in this action as party defendant for the limited purpose of defending the "municipal port authorities law," N.J.S.A. 40:68A-29 et seq.
The parties agreed to submit the issues to the court on motions for summary judgment.
The Township of Cinnaminson, a municipality in Burlington County, has land frontage upon the Delaware
River and upon that portion of the Delaware River which is navigable. On February 16, 1961, chapter 192 of the Laws of 1960 was approved. N.J.S.A. 40:68A-29 et seq. This statute authorizes municipalities along or through which a navigable river flows to create a "municipal port authority" by ordinance, which ordinance could not take effect until a certified copy was forwarded to each "existing port body" existing by statute or compact within the district where the municipal authority existed, and such "port body" may by resolution filed with the municipal clerk within 20 days "object" to the ordinance, which objection would bar it from becoming effective.
The subject ordinance was adopted April 11, 1961, certified copy forwarded to the Delaware Port Authority, and the latter authority has not registered any objection.
"The municipal port authorities law" N.J.S.A. 40:68A-30 et seq. , sets forth a declaration of public interest and policy:
"It is hereby found that there exists a lack of adequate port facilities available for public use in municipalities in, along or through the territory of which a navigable river flows and it is hereby declared to be in the public interest and to be the policy of the State to foster and promote by all reasonable means the establishment and development of port facilities in municipalities in, along or through the territory of which a navigable river flows and thereby bettering the public health, welfare and convenience and increasing the availability of proper port facilities which cannot be adequately secured except by exercise of the powers of government. It is the purpose and object of this act to further and implement such policy by
(1) Authorizing municipalities in, along or through the territory of which a navigable river flows by means and through the agency of a municipal port authority, to acquire, construct, maintain, operate, improve or lease public port facilities;
(2) Authorizing the making of charges for the use or the services of such facilities, and providing for the establishment, collection and enforcement of such charges;
(3) Creating as bodies corporate and politic municipal port authorities to have full responsibility and powers with respect to such facilities and the establishment, collection, enforcement, use and disposition of such charges for the use or services of such facilities;
(4) Providing for the financing of such facilities, for the issuance of bonds therefor, and for the payment and security of such bonds; and
(5) Granting to municipalities in, along or through the territory of which a navigable river flows and to such municipal port authorities discretionary powers to provide for public port facilities or a system thereof and obtaining funds to defray the cost thereof from the users of such facilities or from counties or municipalities or from other persons contracting for or with respect to the same."
The statute authorizes the governing body by ordinance to create a municipal port authority, and after its adoption the procedure to be followed is specified, ...