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Piscataway defies Christie's order to stop road projects

Friday, July 15, 2016   (0 Comments)
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NJ.com 07/15/16

Mayor Brian Wahler said he is defying an order from Gov. Chris Christie to halt reconstruction of School Street, a project with some money from the Transportation Trust Fund, because, "I'm not having my residents play second fiddle to his games." "He has no legal right to do what he did," Wahler said of Christie's order to have municipalities and counties stop projects under contract that are already in progress. "Those contracts have been awarded and paid for. That makes no sense."

Wahler said the problem with the trust fund is with a lack of money for the 2017 projects because the 2016 projects have already been paid for. He said he is continuing work on the reconstruction of School Street because it is a more than 75-year-old residential road that was in such poor shape it needed to be totally rebuilt. "We have elderly residents living here and right now they can't park in their driveways because we've torn up the road," the mayor said. "I am not going to stop work. I want this project to be finished by the second week in December when the asphalt plants close down in New Jersey."

Wahler said Christie's action would have made sense for any projects in the 2017 budget, but makes no sense for the projects that have already been paid for in 2016 or 2015. "The only ones who are going to win here are the lawyers who sue the municipalities and counties on behalf of the contractors for breach of contract," the mayor said. "Has our governor thought of that? I doubt it. Besides, I don't think he has any jurisdiction of the projects where the counties and municipalities are picking up 85 to 90 percent of the tab." Wahler said watching Christie over the past month has been "like we have a crazy uncle gone wild!" Wahler said he has asked the township's lawyer and there is no penalty for using municipal money to complete a municipal project since the state check was received and cashed months ago.


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