The proposed use of Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) funds to pay for an interchange connecting the Garden State Parkway with Route 30 is misleading to the public, Sen. Jim Whelan said Friday afternoon.
Whelan released a statement following a meeting with New Jersey Turnpike Authority officials, Absecon Mayor Pete Elco and representatives from the New Jersey Department of Transportation and Gov. Chris Christie's Office Friday morning.
"In the summer, Gov. Christie signed legislation (S1323/A2575) which amended current law that required the CRDA to devote all future assets and revenue to the Atlantic City Tourism District," Whelan said in the statement. "This legislation had unanimous support in the Legislature. Despite the popular notion that a Route 30 interchange could be funded by CRDA dollars, it could not. My office will be working with the Turnpike Authority and the Department of Transportation to identify funding options for a Route 30 interchange."
The suggestion was initially made by Sen. Christopher J. Connors of the Ninth District. Connors has represented Galloway Township officially since last year's redistricting. Prior to that, Galloway was in District 2, and represented by Whelan.
"We don't know what needs to be done or how much it's going to cost yet," said Whelan, who said he hasn't spoken to Connors about the issue. "The law's really clear."
Whelan said the earliest there will be any information about project specifics and cost is at the end of next summer.
"The Turnpike Authority indicated a feasibility study would be the first step in the process," Whelan said in the statement following Friday morning's meeting. "They also indicated a willingness to undertake such a study, which wouldn't start until sometime in 2013, extending into the summer months to get traffic counts at their peak."
This process has no impact on the other two interchange projects, at 41 and 44, Whelan said. They were scheduled to begin next year.