New Jersey State House renovation project advances without voter approval

A $300 million renovation project for the New Jersey State House is on track to begin even without approval from voters.

The New Jersey State House renovation project will move forward without voter approval.

The New Jersey State House renovation project will move forward without voter approval. (2/20/17)

TRENTON - A $300 million renovation project for the New Jersey State House is on track to begin even without approval from voters.

Some New Jersey politicians, including Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, are questioning if the budget for the renovations is too great. Lawmakers even held a hearing about it.

But Gov. Chris Christie says that the State House is in disrepair and features multiple safety violations.

“This is moving forward I told you. It’s done. It’s over. It’s moving forward,” Christie said. “We're not going to allow people to operate in unsafe space. I will be the last governor to operate in a fire trap.”

The project will be funded through the Economic Development Authority, a move that does not require voter approval.

Seton Hall professor Matt Hale says that the project could benefit state tourism.

“You could make that argument because people would rather see a state house that’s nice instead of one that’s falling apart,” Hale says.

Without a specific funding mechanism, this type of appropriation is normally agreed upon as a law by the Legislature.

“It’s $300 million. I’m sure there are municipalities and local school districts that would like to have some of that instead of having it spent on the State House,” Hale says.

The project is expected to begin in July and should take four years to complete.

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