Following a resolution approval in Hoboken last night, the Jersey City Council is poised to vote on a resolution against the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s $4.7 billion New Jersey Turnpike widening project next week.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Mayor Steven Fulop has already come out against the three-phase proposal, which would begin by widening the extension to four lanes in both directions, while eight of nine council members have agreed to sponsor a resolution, according to Ward E Councilman James Solomon’s office.
“Taxpayers should never pay more money for worse outcomes. This is a classic example of wasteful spending; the Turnpike Authority could and should invest the billions of dollars this project would cost in expanding access to public transportation across the state, ensuring more people have a green alternative to cars in the midst of the climate crisis,” Solomon said.
“Instead, the Turnpike authority has chosen a plan that will pollute our air and clog our streets—and that is completely unacceptable.”
Only Councilwoman-at-Large Amy DeGise, who is currently under fire for a hit-and-run last month, has not signed off on the local legislation as of yet.
However, a spokesman for DeGise said on Friday that she requested to be added as a sponsor.
“At this time, the expansion of the New Jersey Turnpike does not appear favorable to the residents of Jersey City. It is undeniable that one of the many hardships Jersey City residents face is the amount of vehicle traffic that comes through our city on a daily basis,” Council President Joyce Watterman said in a statement.
“Our roads are simply too congested to accommodate an increase in traffic. I understand that while this expansion is concentrated on the Turnpike, I am convinced that our residents will bear the brunt and disruption this expansion can cause, therefore I am against the Turnpike expansion.”
The second phase would widen 14A to Columbus Drive in Jersey City to three lanes, while the third and final phase would replace elevated structures from Columbus Drive to Jersey Avenue.
The NJTA Board of Commissioners have not taken any action on the matter yet, but have heard opposition at their meetings in July and August, including from Solomon, Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey, and Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh.
“There are opportunities here to address aging infrastructure with innovative transit solutions. Public transportation improvements will do more to stimulate economic development and create good jobs than expanding highways,” Prinz-Arey said.
“Our great city is already overburdened by traffic and the negative consequences of the congestion it brings. The expansion is not right for our City, our environment, and the direction our state is moving towards,” added Ward C Councilman Rich Boggiano.
The other council members supporting the measure are Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley, Ward F Councilman Frank “Educational” Gilmore, and Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera.
The Jersey City Council will convene next week at City Hall, 280 Grove St., at 10 a.m. for their caucus on Monday and then 6 p.m. for the regular session on Wednesday.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on Friday evening to reflect that a spokesman for Councilwoman-at-Large Amy DeGise said she asked to be added as a sponsor.