The Murphy Administration announced a change in the New Jersey Department of Transportation's (NJDOT) Municipal Aid Grant cycle to better help municipalities plan and construct important infrastructure projects. In addition, NJDOT is creating a Local Aid Resource Center to support local public agencies, fulfilling a pledge to offer proactive assistance.
For the coming fiscal year, NJDOT will be modifying the application schedule by making municipal aid funds available sooner. The vast majority of towns and cities operate on a calendar fiscal year running from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31.
Since January of 2018, NJDOT has awarded $821 million in grants to municipalities and counties. Gov. Phil Murphy called on the NJDOT to find a way to accelerate the municipal grant awards program to help relieve property tax burden and to make important local infrastructure improvements. With the 2020 grants accelerated and on schedule to be awarded later this year, NJDOT will have handed out nearly $1.2 billion to local governments in the Murphy Administration's first 18 months.
Applications will be accepted from May 13 through July 19, with the intent to announce new grant recipients in November. This applies to the $151.25 million Municipal Aid grant program with an additional $10 million for Urban Aid, as well as to the Bikeways, Safe Streets to Transit, and Transit Village grant programs — each of which has $1 million available to local communities.
"This updated grant cycle and center dedicated to assisting local communities is very good news for New Jersey's mayors and municipal engineers," said Murphy. "By announcing these grants in November, projects receiving awards can be incorporated into upcoming municipal budgets, providing more certainty for local government officials."
The new Local Aid Resource Center will provide one-stop shopping for local government managers by providing hands-on resources for the application process, raising awareness of grant cycles, and proactively communicating pertinent information.
The Resource Center will provide a centralized, user-friendly website and hotline with easily accessible information and content. It will provide training for submitting applications, assist local governments in preparing and submitting documents to meet state and federal requirements, and help identify issues and develop solutions to ensure municipalities receive support well in advance.
"By proactively helping local governments succeed in spending all the transportation dollars afforded them, we ensure the entire transportation network functions efficiently and effectively," NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. "It is in all our interests to make sure we award as many grants as possible and that those projects are successfully completed. Every project that is brought to completion is a benefit to that community and the transportation system as a whole. I want to make sure that as an agency the NJDOT does everything it can reasonably do to help our local governments flourish."
Municipalities continue to successfully complete their Local Aid projects. The most recent data shows that municipalities are delivering more than 95 percent of their projects in the required two-year timeframe. The Local Aid Resource Center was created to help address local needs, offer guidance, and provide additional resources to ensure this trend continues and even more projects get completed to benefit our communities.
For more information regarding the Resource Center, call 609/649-9395 or visit www.njdotlocalaidrc.com.