$175M TAKEN AWAY
Route 92 plan loses funding
Money gets shifted to widen turnpike
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 11/30/05
BY JONATHAN TAMARI
GANNETT STATE BUREAU
TRENTON — Highway officials took away
almost all of the money set aside for the controversial Route 92 project
Tuesday and shifted the funds to
plans for widening the New Jersey Turnpike.
The move by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority deals a blow to Route 92, the
oft-criticized plan for an east-west road across southern
The authority took $175 million set aside for Route 92 and instead will
use it on plans to widen the turnpike between exits 6 and 8A. That
leaves just $6.5 million for Route 92, which is expected to cost $450
"It basically kills Route 92,"
said Jeff Tittel, executive director of the Sierra Club's New Jersey
chapter, which opposed the plan.
Turnpike officials, however, said Route
92 could go forward at some point in the future. The state would have
to borrow to pay for it.
"This is not being done to kill the
project as much as it is being done to prioritize the turnpike
widening," said authority spokesman Joseph Orlando. "The
turnpike widening project is a major initiative. It is our top priority
He said the money has been sitting
unused for five years as the state tries to get environmental
permits for Route 92, which would be a 6.7-mile road connecting the
turnpike and Route 1.
The turnpike plans call for widening the highway between exit 6 in
Burlington County and exit 8A in Middlesex County, where traffic often
backs up as truck and car lanes merge. It is expected to cost $1.2
billion, and authority Executive Director Michael Lapolla hopes
construction can begin in 2008 and conclude in 2013.
Route 92 proponents, including Middlesex County planning officials,
have said the new road is needed to ease congestion in a
fast-developing part of the county. Although there are many north-south
highways, local or county roads have to handle east-west traffic, said
George Ververides, Middlesex County planning director.