SOMERVILLE, NJ - In a statement released Thursday, Sept. 15, today, Doug Singleterry, Democratic Candidate for Freeholder denounced what he called, “the politicization by our County Freeholders of the public safety of our residents.”
“While I am thrilled that the Rt. #518 bridge repair, which was begun only two days before Governor Christie shut down work on all transportation projects will now be repaired using County capital funds, one is left to wonder why, if these funds were available all along, were these repairs not begun two months ago even though there was an immediate outcry by residents, public safety officials, and local elected officials to fix this problem.” said Singleterry.
Route 518 is a heavily traveled roadway that provides the only major connection between Routes 27 and 206. In addition to providing important access to residents seeking to traverse Somerset County, Route 518 is also a critical thoroughfare for emergency services personnel seeking to rapidly transport those in need of hospital care to both the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro as well as Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
“When you look at the timing of this announcement and the details behind it, you can clearly see that there was no reason why this same action could not have been taken 2 months ago. By their own admission, the County does not yet have agreement with the State for reimbursement of these funds once the Transportation Trust Fund impasse is resolved.
"Even now, despite this announcement, work on the project will begin only when a Memorandum of Understanding between the County and the State Department of Transportation is concluded. When will that be? Considering that Governor Christie said that he couldn’t care less about what Democratic Mayors think, namely Mayor Phil Kramer of Franklin and Mayor Ray Heck of Millstone who led the fight to bring this problem to the public’s attention, does anyone believe that this isn’t being manipulated for political purposes?” Singleterry said.
In a related effort to focus public attention on the necessity for immediate repair of this bridge, public protests have been held as well as a Citizens Group Facebook page begun so that residents could keep up with developments relating to restarting work on the bridge.
“When you think about the timing of this announcement, is it any wonder why people are fed up with politicians? Two months of inconvenience, two months of delays, countless lives put at risk, all for what, so that the Freeholders could announce action 8 weeks before an Election?
" Action that may I point out is still according to all reports, just an announcement with no clear date for work to begin. It makes you wonder, what other infrastructure repairs are being held up just so our elected officials can portray themselves as heroes?" Singleterry said.