– Attorney General Peter C. Harvey
today filed suit in U.S. District Court
in Trenton, asking the Court to declare
that New Jersey’s new rules aimed
at eliminating political influence in
contracting are not in conflict with federal
declaratory judgment action was filed
on behalf of the New Jersey Department
of Transportation in response to a letter
that Commissioner John F. Lettiere Jr.
received last week from the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) advising that no
federal highway funds would be approved
for New Jersey projects because of a perceived
conflict between federal contracting rules
and Executive Order 134, issued last year
by Governor James E. McGreevey to guard
against political influence in contracting.
transportation officials have not articulated
any official reason why Executive Order
134, which seeks to remove political influence
from contracting, conflicts with federal
law or would result in any decrease in
competition for state contracts in New
Jersey,” said Attorney General Harvey.
“We are seeking to uphold the important
principles behind the Executive Order,
which ultimately has the same goal as
the federal rules – fair competition
and objectivity in the awarding of contracts.
We want to resolve these issues as quickly
as possible so that New Jersey can receive
tens of millions in highway funding and
implement important highway projects that
are being held up by the Federal Highway
on the position set forth in its January
6 letter, FHWA is withholding federal
funds needed for a total of $250 million
in state transportation projects for which
NJ DOT has sought federal authorization.