Christie Dashes Hope for Flooding Relief by Vetoing Bridge Funding
JUNE 29, 2012 (TRENTON) – Senators Bob Gordon and Nellie Pou and Assembly members Connie Wagner, Tim Eustace and Valerie Vainieri Huttle vowed to continue fighting on behalf of Bergen County residents after Governor Christie vetoed legislation they sponsored that would have provided a long-term fix to the flooding caused by the Marcellus Street Bridge in Garfield.
"This veto may not be totally equivalent to a 'Christie to Bergen County: Drop Dead' headline, but it's close," said Gordon. "Today the governor told the river towns of Bergen County that they are all alone in dealing with potentially devastating floods even though a solution is at-hand. The governor better hope Bergen County has a dry summer, or there will be a flood of angry calls to the governor's office the next time the Passaic and Saddle Rivers overflow their banks."
"It is disappointing that the governor would toss aside a common-sense solution that would have protected thousands of families from potentially devastating floods," said Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic). "All across our community, lives have been disrupted and nerves frayed because of the problems at the Marsellus Street Bridge. Instead of helping the community by signing the bill, he is forcing them to accept that flooding as just something they are going to have to live with. We will not give up, and will continue to work towards helping our families and businesses.”
“This is extremely unfortunate for our residents who have been pleading for a reprieve from flooding for years now,” said Wagner (D-Bergen/Passaic). “We have worked tirelessly to try and find a solution and the Governor just responded with a ‘no’. They can be rest assured, however, that we will not give up on working together to find a common solution.”
“This is a blow to the residents of the Lower Saddle River Basin who have been dealing with this issue for years,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Ignoring the problem will not make the flooding and the damage that comes along with it go away. Residents will still have to pick up the pieces each time and in the end it will cost everyone more money.”
“This is disappointing and short-sighted decision on the part of the Governor,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “I know the flooding nightmare this bridge has created for Garfield and the surrounding area and we won’t give up fighting for a solution. I would hope the Governor would choose to be a part of that solution rather than an impediment.”
The bill (A-576/S257) Christie vetoed would have appropriated $10 million from the General Fund to the Department of Transportation to fund the state’s contribution towards improvements, including but not limited to, the resolution of flooding issues around the Marsellus Street Bridge, located at the origin of Saddle River Avenue in the city of Garfield.
This legislation was intended to provide relief to residents of Bergen County who have been subjected to flooding and associated issues due to debris that becomes trapped at the Marsellus Street Bridge, which is owned by Bergen County.
Residents in Garfield, Lodi, Saddle Brook, South Hackensack and Rochelle Park have repeatedly been besieged with flooding due to the concrete impediments and iron girders under the bridge which collect debris during heavy rainfalls and form a natural dam that causes water to overflow and flood the surrounding areas. The sponsors noted that new technologies available can support the bridge without the concrete walls, which local officials believe would help alleviate roughly 80 percent of the flooding that occurs.