TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Republican Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that work will begin immediately on a complete renovation of the “shameful” New Jersey statehouse.
He made the announcement at the Statehouse rotunda and said staff would be moved into other office space by July for the four-year, $300 million project.
Christie, whose second and final term ends in January 2018, noted that the executive side of the statehouse hadn’t had a major upgrade since 1958. Parts of the building date to the 18th century.
“To leave the statehouse in this condition is an embarrassment,” Christie said. “And quite frankly it’s shameful.”
The part of the building used by the executive branch doesn’t have fire sprinklers and there are a number of code violations, he said. The wing of the building housing the governor’s counsel is in danger of sinking into the ground and crushing computer servers in the basement, he said.
The governor did not say exactly how the renovation would be paid for. He noted that the administration would work with the state’s Economic Development Authority, which helps businesses get low-interest loans and tax breaks, to fund the renovation.
Christie said he was reminded that the renovations were needed after visiting Maryland’s statehouse to meet with fellow Republican Gov. Larry Hogan recently.
Christie said workers and tourists shouldn’t have to worry about safety in the building. The plans include moving a security checkpoint that is currently located inside the building near the vestibule to the outside to guard against security threats, Christie added.
He said the portion of the building used by the Legislature won’t be affected.
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