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Gusciora on Mercer TTF Projects: “Equal access and safety should be above politics”

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) on Tuesday said the Governor’s suspension of critical public works projects in Trenton and around Mercer County, such as the halting of construction on A.D.A. compliant ramps, curbs, and sidewalks in the city, was “completely unacceptable” and leaving other projects unaddressed is “fundamentally unsafe.”

Gusciora pointed out, that as one of New Jersey’s oldest cities, Trenton features historic construction, much of which is not compliant with modern accessibility standards. Ultimately, this causes difficulties for Trenton’s disabled population, and substantially limits their transportation and housing options.

“All five of Trenton’s Transportation Trust Fund projects included the construction of A.D.A. compliant infrastructure,” Gusciora explained. “Stopping work on these projects is equal to stopping work on progress for disabled residents of the city and that’s completely unacceptable. Equal access and safety should be above politics.”

Construction projects funded by the state’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) were halted earlier this month as a result of Governor Christie’s Executive Order 210, which ordered work stoppage starting July 8. Other critical projects around Mercer County have also been affected, including construction of several bridges on Route 206, one of which began deteriorating in February of this year and required temporary emergency repairs.

“When the Governor’s Office announced the list of projects that would be halted, they claimed that ‘the plan exempts projects deemed essential for the protection of the health, safety and welfare of all citizens,'” said Gusciora. “Yet the Stony Brook Bridge on Route 206 is a perfect example of Governor Christie’s misguided priorities. As the oldest bridge in the state, it’s already started falling apart and is relying on temporary repairs, and yet it remains in constant use. Not allowing construction to continue immediately makes everyone who uses that bridge fundamentally unsafe.

“Much of New Jersey’s infrastructure is already crumbling. To think that now, our mindset seems to be ‘let’s kick the can down the road; let’s let it deteriorate more,’ is incredibly frustrating. We need to address these problems proactively rather than reactively. We need to fix our infrastructure before the inevitable disaster motivates us to take action,” added Gusciora.