New Jersey announced the awarding of nearly $20 million in 27 federal transportation grants.
New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) in partnership with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) announced the awarding of nearly $20 million in 27 federal grants under the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) and Transportation Alternatives Set-Asides (TA Set-Asides) programs.
"As part of NJDOT's commitment to communities, we work with the three regional planning authorities to provide federal funding to counties and municipalities for local transportation projects that improve safety and strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of our transportation system," NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. "The Safe Routes to School grants will provide resources to local communities throughout New Jersey to enhance our sidewalks and crosswalks to allow our children to safely walk or bike to school."
The SRTS and TA Set-Asides are both federally-funded programs. SRTS was established in 2005 to increase pedestrian safety awareness among motorists and schoolchildren. The TA Set-Asides program was established by Congress in 2012 and is funded through a set aside of the Federal Aid Highway Program to provide funds for community based "non-traditional" projects that strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of the nation's intermodal system.
The programs are administered by the NJDOT in partnership with the NJTPA, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO). The grants announced May 16 are for projects within the NJTPA region. The DVRPC and SJTPO will announce their grants shortly.
Safe Routes to School
The Safe Routes to School program was created to encourage children, including those with disabilities, to walk and bike to school. These 11 grants announced totaling $5.8 million will provide local governments within the NJTPA region the ability to make pedestrian safety improvements near K-8 schools.
The goal is to make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative, thereby encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle from an early age; and to implement projects that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution in the vicinity of schools.
Infrastructure improvement projects to be funded through the program include the construction of sidewalks, bikeway lanes and multi-use paths; and the installation of new crosswalks, school-zone markings and speed-limit signs.
Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP)
The Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program provides federal funds for community based "non-traditional" projects designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic and environmental aspects of the nation's intermodal system. The 16 grants announced totaling $13.99 million in the NJTPA region are for projects that must fall into one of the following seven categories:
- Design and construction of on-road and off-road trail facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized forms of transportation
- Conversion and use of abandoned railroad corridors for trails for pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized transportation users.
- Construction of scenic turnouts, overlooks and viewing areas.
- Historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities both land and water such as building structures and canals.
- Community improvement activities, specifically: streetscaping and corridor landscaping.
- Environmental mitigation to address stormwater management, control and water pollution prevention or abatement related to highway construction or due to highway runoff.
- Reduce vehicle-caused wildlife mortality or to restore and maintain connectivity among terrestrial or aquatic habitats.
Each individual municipality is responsible for implementing their respective SRTS or Transportation Alternative Set-Aside projects.