Review of hearing transcript

By: Joseph Harvie , Staff Writer    
South Brunswick Post, 10/14/2004

Transcript of 92 hearing shows a majority of those who attended opposed construction of Route 92.

A review of the recently released transcript of the federal Army Corps of Engineers hearing on Route 92 in May shows that 87 percent of those who spoke were opposed to the highway and most of the project's supporters were elected and appointed officials from communities that neighbor South Brunswick.

The transcript, released last week, is part of the record being collected as the Army Corps continues work on its environmental impact statement. The Army Corps released a draft report in April.

The Army Corps is reviewing the proposed 6.7-mile toll road because state and federal environmental regulators could not agree on whether permits should be issued. The state Department of Environmental Protection issued permits, but the federal Environmental Protection Agency rejected permits saying other, less intrusive alternatives exist.

The transcript released last week includes only spoken testimony made at the May 20 hearing and not the written testimony submitted in the month following.

According to the transcript, 71 people commented on the project, 62 of them in opposition to the highway, which would connect the New Jersey Turnpike Exit 8A with Route 1.

Those who opposed the roadway included state Assemblyman Bill Baroni, R-14, and Steven Cook, the chief of staff for state Sen. Peter Inverso, R-14. The 14th Legislative District includes South Brunswick. Also speaking against the highway were the members of the South Brunswick Township Council, representatives of the state and central New Jersey chapters of the Sierra Club of New Jersey, New Jersey Public Interest Research Group and residents of Dayton, Kingston and Monmouth Junction and several residents from Princeton and Plainsboro, where the governing bodies have endorsed the highway.

Opponents cited traffic concerns, the threat to wetlands, the intrusion on undeveloped area and the sighting of several bald eagles in the region. In particular, many of the opponents said that Route 92 said the road would only increase traffic on Route 1 in South Brunswick and through Kingston.

The nine who spoke in favor of the Route 92 included Plainsboro Mayor Peter Cantu and several Plainsboro staff members, Middlesex County Planner George Ververides, Monroe Township Transportation Coordinator Edward Cohen and Rob Wolfe of Princeton Forrestal Center among others and several residents of South Brunswick.

Those who support the project say the road will ease congestion and keep truck traffic off local east-west roads. They also say it would quickly move traffic away from Exit 8A, and removing some of the truck traffic near and around the exit.

The Army Corps of Engineers has made the transcript available online at

People interested in purchasing a copy of the 400-page transcript can send a $70 certified check or money order payable to the Treasurer of the United States and marked "Application Number 1999-00240-J1, Route 92 Hearing Transcript" to the attention of the Regulatory Branch at the Jacob K. Javitz Federal Building, New York, N.Y. 10278-0090.

The transcript also is available for review at the Army Corps of Engineers office in New York. Those wishing to set up a time to review the transcript should contact Russell Smith at (212) 264-3912.