The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority has not yet heard from any representatives concerning possible funding for interchanges involving off the Garden State Parkway in Galloway Township, was unable to comment on if funds could be used toward the project, CRDA Director of Communications Kim Butler said Thursday evening, Oct. 11.
The issue was raised during a meeting between involving District 9 Legislators, New Jersey Turnpike Authority officials, Galloway Mayor Don Purdy, Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola, Atlantic County Freeholder Alex Marino, officials from Gov. Chris Christie Office and representatives from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
The Authority is looking to begin work on full interchanges at mile markers 40, 41 and 44 in the summer of 2013.
Sen. Christopher J. Connors suggested the possibility of funding the interchanges with CRDA money, although no official interaction has taken place between the senator’s office and the CRDA.
Recently, the state passed bill S1323, the Mobile Gaming Device Law, part of which limits the use of certain CRDA assets and revenues. It was unclear if it would be possible to use CRDA funds for this project.
“It’s a different dynamic now,” Coppola said. “The Atlantic City Expressway dumps you off into the southern end and the northern end was not developed. … The northern end of Atlantic City now has the Borgata, the Revel, the Golden Nugget. I think now it’s appropriate, and if we could use CRDA money, that would be great.”
Coppola said the Turnpike Authority said a third interchange connecting the White Horse Pike to the Parkway was not in its financial projections. It initially only planned on putting interchanges at mile marker 41 and 44, but officals did agree to evaluate the situation, Coppola said.
“They did not say no. They’ve always been fair to us,” Coppola said.
The ongoing Garden State Parkway widening project is coming closer to the southern portion of the state. Currently, work is being done to the bridge at the Mullica River and on an extra ramp in Port Republic. Work on the bridge in the vicinity of the White Horse Pike near the Rams Head Inn will take place before work on the interchanges, and the construction on the interchanges will take place simultaneously.
The widening project in Galloway won’t begin until the interchanges are complete. The interchanges will be done at the same time.
According to Coppola, Purdy suggested that when work is done on the bridge by the Rams Head, it be done in such a way to prepare for the possibility of an interchange, even if one doesn’t come to fruition at that location.
Galloway’s officials have maintained they want an interchange at 40 in addition to 41 and 44, but not if a toll is attached to it.
“I am not in favor of a toll at all,” Coppola said. “Being toll free has been a huge benefit for us in this area.”
Senator Jim Whelan will meet with Turnpike Authority officials today.