GOP Assembly members call for hearing on Route 92 bill
By: Matthew Kirdahy , Staff Writer
South Brunswick Post, 05/13/2004
Legislation would repeal 1991 law that authorized Turnpike
Authority to construct four-lane Turnpike spur.
The four Republican members of the
Assembly Transportation Committee are calling on its chairman to
schedule a hearing on a bill designed to kill Route 92.
Assemblyman Bill Baroni, a Republican
representing South Brunswick, introduced legislation in January that
would repeal a 1991 law that authorized the Turnpike Authority to
construct the four-lane Turnpike spur.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski, chairman
of the Transportation Committee, had said in January that he would not
schedule a hearing on the bill until after the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers released its Environmental Impact Statement on the road.
The Army Corps is reviewing the Turnpike Authority's application for
environmental permits because state and federal regulators could not
agree on whether they should be issued.
The Army Corps released a draft Environmental Impact Study on the
highway, which would link the N.J. Turnpike at Exit 8A with Route 1 at
Ridge Road, in April and will host a public hearing on the study May 20
at the Raddisson Hotel on Route 1 in South Brunswick.
Mr. Wisniewski has not returned calls
placed to his office during the last two weeks.
Mr. Baroni said Mr. Wisniewski told
him there would be no hearing on his bill and Mr. Baroni approached the
four Republicans on the committee — Peter Biondi (Somerset), Francis
Bodine (Burlington), John Gibson (Cape May) and Kevin O'Toole (Passaic).
"We need to do everything we can to
allow South Brunswick and the rest of the region to talk about this road,"
Mr. Baroni said Wednesday. "The
Legislature should not hide behind the Army Corps process. This is a
bad road and we have been elected to represent the people of New
The four sent letters on Monday to Mr. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) asking
that the bill, A-1957, be reviewed. Each of the four Assembly members
sent the same letter.
"This legislation has been in the Assembly for a number of years," the
letter says, referring to an earlier version of the bill introduced in
2000 by former Assemblyman Gary Guear. "The
Army Corps of Engineers have recently released their Environmental
Impact Statement, and I believe now is the perfect time to allow the
residents of the towns affected by this road to testify before the
Aides to the committee Republicans said Wednesday that the bill needed
"Let's air it out," said Tom Suthart,
spokesman for Assemblyman Gibson. "(The bill) deserves a fair hearing.
That's really what this is about, so that the committee can debate
merits of bill."
Glen Beebee, spokesman for Mr. Bodine,
said he wanted hearings on the bill so the public can comment.
"The assemblyman, as a ranking
minority member on the committee, is very supportive of bringing issues
like this out to the public, so we can here what the public really
wants done," Mr. Beebee said.
Assemblyman Upendra Chivakula, a
Democrat from Franklin and a member of the Transportation Committee,
said last week he would review Mr. Baroni's bill but did not plan on
taking a position on it. He is opposed to Route 92. He could not
be reached for comment Wednesday.