HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A funding fight is underway in New Jersey after Gov. Phil Murphy froze $235 million in the 2020 budget earmarked for local and county projects.
But one of those projects now on hold is being called vital to public safety, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Wednesday.
Route 206 through Hillsborough is a major trucking route. Those large vehicles often cut through narrow local roads like Dukes Parkway West to get to destinations south and west, causing major headaches for locals.
“There’s tons of trucks around here in the morning or in the afternoon. You go up 206, especially, it’s like a dead stop,” commuter Revi Moonsammy said.
Local officials are upset with Gov. Murphy for freezing funding for a road project meant to alleviate some of the truck traffic.
“There is a significant public safety issue here. We have a significant infrastructure issue,” Hillsborough Mayor Frank DelCore said.
The construction plan includes connecting Brown Avenue to Roycefield Road. This would divert traffic off Duke’s Parkway and other one-lane back-country roads.
Baker brought these concerns to Gov. Murphy, who did not address safety matters but instead criticized the Legislature’s budget.
State Sen. Kip Bateman said Murphy is playing politics.
“I think it’s directly against Senate president and the speaker because he didn’t get his millionaires’ tax. Get over it. We didn’t pass a millionaires’ tax. Let’s get on with doing what we’re supposed to as legislators,” Bateman said.
Local drivers said they have mixed feelings about the governor’s freeze.
“He’s just not thinking of those of us who are hardworking, regular folks that have to make those commutes and live here every day. He’s getting chauffeured around by the state police,” Moonsammy said.
“I’m a taxpayer and I like to look after our dollars, so don’t spend it if we don’t have to,” added Greg Carr of Branchburg.
The state allocated $500,000 for the Brown Avenue expansion.
The Route 206 bypass plan is continuing in Somerset County. The New Jersey Department of Transportation said the project is expected to be completed by fall of 2020.