New Jersey lawmakers want more details on state Capitol renovation plan

 The view looking up in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Trenton. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

The view looking up in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Trenton. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

New Jersey lawmakers tried to get more details about Governor Christie’s plan for a $300 million Statehouse renovation, but the state Treasurer didn’t offer many specifics.

Senator Jeff Van Drew asked Treasurer Ford Scudder if the legislature will have to approve the renovation project.

“How does this work? Who authorizes this? Is it purely the executive branch that has the ability to do that?

“Senator, we’re working with bond counsel through exactly what steps that needs to take and it’s not a finalized process at this point in time.”

Senator Linda Greenstein asked Scudder what role the Economic Development Authority will have at the Statehouse after it approves issuing bonds to pay for renovations.

“Will they become owners or managers as a result of this funding?”

“We’re still through the exact constellation of that, Senator, so I don’t have a firm answer for you on that at this point in time?”

Scudder could not provide an itemized list of the renovation costs.

“Until we’ve gone and issued bonds, we can’t begin engaging the design firm to do that work, which will then dictate exactly what all of those projects are. So, at this stage it’s impossible for me to give you a line by line breakout of what things would cost because we’re not at that point in the process yet.”

Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez said that’s making it difficult for lawmakers to explain the expense to constituents.

“When we’re asked in the street why we’re spending so much money on a renovation of the Statehouse, I want to be able to tell my constituents and the people in New Jersey this is why.”

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