The planned widening of the New Jersey Turnpike leading to the Holland Tunnel is viewed as necessary by many transportation experts, but the project has drawn opposition from environmentalists and local officials. Those opponents received some new ammunition recently.
Recent estimates now put the cost of the project at $10.6 billion – more than twice the original estimate of $4.7 billion. The revelation sparked a new round of criticism.
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But the project does have high-profile supporters. Gov. Phil Murphy has expressed such support. And the New Jersey Turnpike Authority itself remains committed to the work. Then there are the folks who will actually do the work.
Greg Lalevee, the business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 – and a 2022 NJBIZ Commercial Real Estate Power 50 honoree – has publicly called out the opponents as short-sighted. “One look at traffic coming out of the pandemic tells you all you need to know,” Lalevee wrote in an op-ed for NorthJersey.com. “That’s why the Murphy administration is right to ignore project opponents and move forward with its plans to improve and expand the New Jersey Turnpike in the direction of the Holland Tunnel.”
In this edition of NJBIZ Conversations, Lalevee expanded on his argument in favor of the turnpike widening and discussed the progress being made on other infrastructure projects around the state.