Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) temporary shutdown of hundreds of state projects being paid for by the nearly depleted Transportation Trust Fund has impacted 21 different road projects in Hudson County, an official revealed at yesterday’s Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting.
North Bergen Freeholder Anthony Vainieri (D-8), who made headlines for calling Christie “a fat bully” for suspending the TTF projects, asked the county for an update on what impact this will have locally.
“Tell us exactly the projects that are on hold for the governor’s demand that he holds out these transportation funds. What’s the impact in the county and where do we stand with that? When are they gonna start? When are we gonna hear? ” Vainieri asked the county administration.
“Because the one that’s in [James J.] Braddock Park is a county road, it’s not a park road, it’s a county road and actually all county park roads are county roads. This is going to affect us with the school, school starts in September. We have six ball fields there that are utilized around the clock, from the mornings until late at night.”
He added that it would be “horrendous” for residents and commuters in the area if the project is indeed delayed until September.
Hudson County Engineer Tom Malavasi said that the Park Avenue bridge that connects Hoboken to Weehawken is the only instance of a project being suspended in the middle of construction.
After the meeting, Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5) expressed some frustration with the process, noting that the Sinatra North Platform improvement project could also be affected.
“I think it’s tragic, especially considering it’s a bridge. And by the way, also another program, construction program, that’s supposed to start on August 1 is now being affected and that the Sinatra North Platform [that] is in much need of repair and there’s a time frame there according to the army corps of engineers,” he explained.
“So I’m very upset both these projects are being delayed, considering that many people travel on these roads and we want to make sure, our residents, their safety is first and I believe this project should’ve been allowed to continue until it’s completion since it was started.”
When asked if their has been any communication with the governor’s office on this subject, Romano said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise plans to file an appeal process to get an exemption for at least the Park Avenue project.
An email to a spokesman the governor’s office inquiring if they had any communication with the Hudson County administration or if an exemption was being considered was not immediately returned this morning.
Additionally, the county had been awarded $838,771.21 for phase I improvements to the James J. Braddock Park roadways and $1,062,067 for the concrete deck rehabilitation of the Park Avenue bridge.
Vainieri declined to comment further after the meeting.
A complete breakdown of the funding for the 21 TTF projects impacted in Hudson County can be read here.