Group seeks to kill Rt. 92

By: Sharlee DiMenichi , Staff Writer
South Brunswick Post, 03/06/2003

Transportation group protesting turnpike extension.

A transportation watch group is calling on Gov. James McGreevey to prevent construction of Route 92, a proposed 6.7-mile N.J. Turnpike
extension, even if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves the project next month.

The corps is conducting an environmental review of the project because building Route 92 would require filling in wetlands.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency opposed Route 92 in 1998, while those at the state Department of Environmental Protection
issued permits for it in 1999. The Army Corps of Engineers stepped in to resolve the conflict and is expected to release its Environmental
Impact Statement in April.

According to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign's online newsletter Mobilizing the Region, the proposed roadway would
contribute to sprawl, and suburban over-development by encouraging building near its four exits. The spur, which would connect the N.J.
Turnpike with Route 1 at Exit 8A, falls inside a zone where the governor wants development halted, according to the newsletter.
Under the anti-sprawl plan Gov. McGreevey announced in his January State of the State address, much of southern Middlesex County falls
inside a no-development zone, according to the DEP Web site. Members of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign see a green light
from the corps as an opportunity for the governor to implement his plan to curb over-building.

"We think it's a sprawl-inducer and it's a good test of his sprawl agenda," said Kate Slevin, spokeswoman for the Tri-State
Transportation Campaign.

Ms. Slevin said the highway would attract commercial construction. "That's just calling out for development," Ms. Slevin said of Route 92.
Mayor Frank Gambatese expressed similar opposition to the spur. "Not only does it add to sprawl, but it adds heavy congestion," Mayor Gambatese said.

Mayor Gambatese said the money required to build Route 92 would be better spent widening Route 1 to permanently reduce congestion and
create temporary construction jobs.

Mayor Gambatese said Gov. McGreevey should oppose the roadway. "I would advise the governor to reject it if the Army Corps of
Engineers throws it into the governor's hands," Mayor Gambatese said. Army Corps of Engineers officials said the agency's goal is to
release the EIS by the end of April, but they are not certain if it will be finished in time. The report is under review by the federal
Environmental Protection Agency and the National Fish and Wildlife Service.

A spokesperson for Gov. McGreevey said the governor would not discuss the impact Route 92 might have on sprawl until the corps
finishes the Environmental Impact Statement.

"There's no sense getting ahead of that process," said Micah Rasmussen, a spokesman for the governor.