Thursday, August 25th, 2016
WILL USE ONLY COUNTY DOLLARS – MINUS STATE FUNDS — TO MOVE AHEAD WITH MODIFIED 2016 PRIORITY LIST OF PROJECTS
Morris County’s 2016 road resurfacing program will move ahead, but on a modified scale over the next few months, solely using $4.1 million in county tax dollars, with the cutback in the 2016 paving schedule caused by a lack of anticipated state matching funds due to the stalemate in Trenton regarding the depleted state Transportation Trust Fund, the freeholders have decided.
In addition, the freeholders have recommitted to their policy of aggressively maintaining the county’s road infrastructure in 2017, saying they will target 25 to 30 miles of county roads for paving in 2017, even if the state Trust Fund issue is not resolved.
“We want county residents to know the freeholders are committed to this effort, and that to allow our roads to fall into disrepair would not be acceptable,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo. “The board is prepared to allocate county funding to take care of our infrastructure needs in 2017 even if the state does not resolve the Transportation Trust Fund issue. We have an obligation to our residents and businesses to keep that commitment.’’
The county’s engineering team has worked up a priority list of paving that will move ahead in the late summer and fall based on a thorough analysis of all pending resurfacing projects, and excluding an anticipated $3.9 million in state aid. The original plan for 22 miles of paving has been reduced to about 12 miles of paving in 8 municipalities.
It will be financed by $3.4 million in county capital funding that had been approved for resurfacing work, plus an extra $700,000 from the amount budgeted for rock salt purchases last winter. This shift was possible due to the mild winter season the county experienced earlier this year.
Repaving work will move ahead on the following county roads, which were deemed by county staff to be in need of repair, were furthest along in the design process, and ready for construction bids.
Other projects that had been scheduled in 2016 will be pushed back to 2017. Letters are being sent to mayors in those towns to notify them of the delays until 2017.
“We cannot wait any longer for the state to resolve this funding issue,’’ said Freeholder John Cesaro, who is the county governing board’s liaison on road issues. “There are county roads that require repairs and upgrades. We will do as many roads possible this year and, regardless of what happens, we will work to be ready with a plan for 2017.’’
“Thankfully, we budgeted this year for another aggressive repaving season, to keep our roads in great shape, so we do have adequate county money available to get some of the needed work done now,’’ added Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo. “It’s important to the quality of life for our residents, visitors, and businesses to keep our roads in good shape.’’
The county used leftover 2015 road funds to do a June milling and resurfacing project on a 1.6 mile section of Main Street in Wharton, from Route 46 to just short of Dewey Avenue. But further work halted as the county, like all counties in the state, waited for a state resolution to the TTF issue.
To see the original list of 2016 paving projects, visit: http://morriscountynj.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/2016-Roadway-Resurfacing-Chart-as-of-2-10-16.pdf