Challenge Alert

Lock in $15,000 with your donation by 6:30 p.m.

Donate now

3 N.J. lawmakers move to halt Christie plans for Statehouse renovations

 New Jersey Sen. Kip Bateman is one of three state lawmakers attempting to put the brakes on renovations expected to cost at least $300 million at the Statehouse. (AP file photo)

New Jersey Sen. Kip Bateman is one of three state lawmakers attempting to put the brakes on renovations expected to cost at least $300 million at the Statehouse. (AP file photo)

Three lawmakers have filed a lawsuit to block the Christie administration’s renovation of the New Jersey Statehouse.

Republican Sens. Kip Bateman and Mike Doherty and Democrat Ray Lesniak claim the administration initiated the project without legislative or voter approval.

That just wrong, said Bateman.

“Everybody wants to make certain that it’s safe for the workers, but $300 million to renovate the Statehouse?” he said. “I mean we haven’t seen any plans. I think the public is getting screwed on this deal, and I think we need some transparency — and we have to get to the bottom of it.”

The lawsuit claims the administration’s actions violate the debt limitation, appropriations, and separation of powers clauses of the New Jersey Constitution.

Lesniak, who’s also a candidate for governor, said he worries the project could cost more than $500 million.

“Gov. Christie has come up with this grandiose plan and has jumped through hoops to avoid any public scrutiny or a vote by the Legislature,” said Lesniak. “We’re going to have to stop this waste of taxpayer dollars when we have so many other needs in the state that are more important.”

The three senators hope their lawsuit will prevent the bond sales needed for the work until lawmakers hold hearings and vote on it.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.