Gov. Chris Christie foresees a hypocritical governor presiding at a Statehouse reopening ceremony in Trenton in 2021.

The Christie administration is on the verge of commencing a major renovation of the Statehouse, predominantly in its executive wing, that could cost close to $300 million — not counting a few hundred million in additional interest costs to eventually pay off the borrowing.

None of the candidates running to replace Christie support the project, and a few have filed or joined lawsuits seeking to stop it. Christie says they’re grandstanding and will appreciate that the building will no longer be a firetrap.

“This project will get going and get done four years from now. And whoever the governor is at the time will preside over some grand reopening of the Statehouse with incredibly laudatory comments about how state-of-the-art it is, what great condition it’s in and about how now we have fire suppression equipment and now we have up-to-the-date Internet access for everybody and now we have a safe place for kids to go and tour and have a place where they can learn about the Statehouse and learn what’s going on in the history of their state,” Christie said on "Ask the Governor."

“And whoever the governor is will take deep bows as he or she moves back into their office,” said Christie. “And I’ll sit back, wherever I am at the time in New Jersey, whatever I’m doing at the time, and I will have a hearty chuckle. Because it will be the very same people, since every candidate for governor has now said they’re opposed to this, the person presiding over that by definition will display their hypocrisy on that moment. That’s OK.”

Christie said the Statehouse has “the condition of a tenement building, not the place that is the seat of government in the state capital."

He said none of the gubernatorial candidates opposing the renovation have asked his office for information explaining the project — including Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who has said she would cancel the project if elected.

“It’s irresponsible of her because she’s never even asked for a briefing on the renovation,” Christie said. “Never asked for a briefing. Never asked for a briefing. Now, you cannot express opinions on this and never have asked for a briefing.

“She doesn’t know the condition of the Statehouse,” he said. “Nor does Wisniewski, Lesniak, Murphy, Ciattarelli, none of them. We’d give briefings to any of them. None of them have asked. You know why, Eric? Because this is just political grandstanding. That’s all it is.”

New Jersey: Decoded cuts through the cruft and gets to what matters in New Jersey news and politics. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5 and the editor of New Jersey: Decoded. Follow @NJDecoded on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at

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