Letters to governor lambaste Rt. 92
By:Matthew Kirdahy , Staff Writer
South Brunswick Post, 07/29/2004
Gov. MrGreevey hears from 1,800 South Brunswick residents
Gov. James McGreevey now knows where
1,800 South Brunswick residents stand on Route 92.
According to letters delivered to the governor's office Friday, they
opposed the project because of its environmental and traffic impacts.
Mayor Frank Gambatese and Councilwoman
Carol Barrett delivered 1,800 copies of a letter written by the No 92
coalition to Gov. McGreevey's office Friday that says motorists
won't pay to use the proposed toll road when they could continue to
travel on east-west roads for free. The letter suggests that the money
the state would spend on Route 92 would be best spent on a Bus Rapid
Transit route or to widen Route 1.
"I think just the total number of
letters we handed in speaks for itself," Ms. Barrett said about
the form letter, which has been circulating since May 21.
A different South Brunswick resident signed each copy of the letter,
which urged Gov. McGreevey to reject the 6.7-mile N.J. Turnpike
Authority-proposed toll road that would extend from the N.J. Turnpike
Exit 8A to Route 1 at Ridge Road in South Brunswick.
"We're certainly pleased that we had
1,800 signatures," Mayor Gambatese said. "When we originally
started around the time of the (Route 92) hearing we had about 400 or
500. I think it's important that the
governor understands there is a great majority of people in South
Brunswick and in the surrounding area concerned with Route 92."
A phone call to the governor's office
was not returned.
According to the letter, "Route 92
violates your Administration's stated policies of fiscal responsibility
and smart growth. Rather than improving the roads we already
have, 92 would cut through a nature preserve, wetlands, endangered
species habitat, open space, and farmland. The cost is enormous: $400
million, estimated in 1993, and probably much higher in reality now. This money would be better spent on
repairing and improving the roads and bridges we already have, and on
increasing public transit around Route 1."
"We can do better than Route 92,"
the letter says. "We need to start
with a fair, community-based conflict resolution process that works for
the whole region, similar to the Penns Neck Area EIS Partners
Roundtable in West Windsor. The Route 92 draft EIS makes scant
mention of community involvement in the decision process, yet it is the
community that must live with whatever is built. Please reject the
Turnpike's proposed alignment of Route 92, and instead use our money on
transportation projects that make sense to the community, the
environment, and to the taxpayers of New Jersey."
The Turnpike Authority proposal is being reviewed by the Army Corps of
The Army Corps is reviewing the project because state and federal
environmental agencies disagree over whether permits should be issued
allowing the Turnpike Authority to fill wetlands to construct the
The Army Corps has released a draft of its Environmental Impact
Statement on Route 92 and is reviewing comments from the public and
state and federal government agencies on the traffic and environmental
impacts of the proposed four-lane highway.
The public comment period ended June 14. Two participating
organizations received extensions to further evaluate the draft EIS
before commenting. The state Department of Environmental Protection
Division of Fish and Wildlife submitted its comments June 28. The
Environmental Protection Agency submitted its comments July 13.
The EPA had denied permits to build the road in 1998 saying there were
less disruptive alternatives. The state Department of Environmental
Protection issued permits for the road in 1999. The state permits
expired March 29, but the Turnpike Authority has said it would reapply
for the permits but has not said when.