Legislators introduce bill to kill Route 92

By: David Campbell , Staff Writer
Princeton Packet, 02/13/2004

Montgomery official applauds measure, but in Princeton, West Windsor and Plainsboro reaction is far different.

Two Republican state lawmakers announced the introduction of legislation intended Wednesday to stop the proposed Route 92.

The two bills, sponsored by state Sen. Peter Inverso (R-Hamilton) and Assemblyman Bill Baroni (R-Hamilton), seek to amend state law and repeal the New Jersey Turnpike Authority's authorization to build the disputed roadway.

Assemblyman Baroni indicated the proposed roadway would bring increased traffic, and called for repairs to Route 1 first.

"This is the wrong road in the wrong place at the wrong time," the assemblyman said.

Sen. Inverso said Route 92 would cause more problems than it solved, claiming it would be fiscally and environmentally costly.

"The estimated cost has skyrocketed far beyond what was envisioned, and the highway's impact on the environment may be more significant than we believed," he said.

Route 92 has long been proposed by the Turnpike Authority to connect the New Jersey Turnpike at Interchange 8A to Route 1 near Ridge Road in South Brunswick. The 6.7-mile, limited-access roadway would be built and managed by the Turnpike Authority.

The Army Corps of Engineers has been working on an environmental impact statement for the roadway since 2000 in order to determine if a wetland permit should be issued to the Turnpike Authority for the project.

Conflict initially arose in 1999 after the state Department of Environmental Protection issued the permit against recommendations from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The release of the environmental document has been delayed to permit the state Department of Transportation, DEP and governor's office to review it.
Montgomery Township Mayor Louise Wilson applauded the proposed legislation.

  "We have opposed Route 92 for many years, and I'm delighted to hear that action is being taken to de-authorize it," Mayor Wilson said.

"We understand that steps need to be taken to make it easier to get from Route 1 to the Turnpike, but 92 was overkill in my opinion," she continued. "It posed a very, very serious threat to the little historical district of Kingston and Rocky Hill, and by extension to Montgomery."

West Windsor Township Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh expressed opposition to the legislation, and vowed to continue to push for the new roadway.

"We are supportive of Route 92 and will continue to support it to alleviate traffic on the West Windsor side, particularly Route 571," Mayor Hsueh said.

Plainsboro Township Mayor Peter Cantu, who in the past has supported Route 92, said it was "disingenuous and politically motivated" of the lawmakers to take a stand against the road before the environmental findings are made known.

"I think it's highly unlikely this will have a chance for success," Mayor Cantu said of the proposed legislation.

Princeton Township Mayor Phyllis Marchand expressed surprise over the move to stop the road, which Princeton Township and Princeton Borough have supported, particularly she said with the environmental findings not yet revealed.

"The region needs an east-west road," Mayor Marchand noted.

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club, praised the lawmakers' action, calling Route 92 "a symbol of sprawl in New Jersey."