Bills may stop Rt. 92 project


Staff Writer
North-South Brunswick Sentinel, February 12, 2004

SOUTH BRUNSWICK — State Sen. Peter Inverso and Assemblyman Bill Baroni, both R-14th District, want to see the Route 92 project die.

"This is the wrong road in the wrong place at the wrong time," Baroni said during a press conference Wednesday.

Inverso and Baroni have both introduced bills in the Legislature that would take away the permission for the N.J. Turnpike Authority to build the 6.7-mile toll road between Exit 8A of the turnpike and Route 1 in South Brunswick.

The $400 million project is currently under review of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers due to a dispute between the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The agencies are arguing the merits of filling some 12 acres of wetlands to build the roadway.

New Jersey is one of only two states that can grant such permits under the federal Clean Water Act, section 404.

The DEP issued one such permit for the project in 1999. According to officials, that permit is set to expire next month.

The new bills, if passed, would take the turnpike's authority to build the road away from the agency.

A similar bill was introduced by former Assemblyman Gary Guear but never made it out of committee.

South Brunswick and several neighboring municipalities are objecting to the proposed road.

Other neighboring towns, such as Plainsboro and Princeton favor the road as a way to relieve eastbound-westbound traffic in the region.

During the press conference, Baroni asked the state to use the $400 million already bonded for the project to help the state Department of Transportation fix Route 1.

"[The $400 million] could go a long way toward repairing Route 1," Baroni said.