Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has announced a proposed capital program for Fiscal Year 2014 that supports $2.6 billion in NJDOT investments and another $1.2 billion in
NJ TRANSIT improvements, for a total program of $3.8 billion.
The proposed capital budget focuses on safety and maintaining existing assets in a state of good repair while at the same time promoting programs that ease congestion and which fund grants that enable local governments to advance transportation projects without burdening property taxpayers.
“This proposed program has been designed to deliver projects that will improve safety and mobility for New Jersey residents and visitors,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson. “The program includes funding for a range of initiatives, from major construction projects that will support economic growth for generations to come, to carefully targeted efforts that improve safety and the quality of life for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists at the community level.”
“The program continues to keep NJ TRANSIT customers and New Jersey taxpayers front and center,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director James Weinstein. “Budget growth remains below the rate of inflation. Fares will remain stable for a fourth consecutive year. All of this while making the critical investments necessary to keep our infrastructure in a state of good repair, while supporting our system’s growth in the years to come.”
Funding sources for the program include $1.6 billion in state funds, the same as last year, and $1.68 billion in federal funds, which is an increase of $190 million.
The state funds come from a variety of sources and hit the target established by the Christie Administration in the five-year Transportation Capital Plan for reducing the reliance on bonds to fund transportation projects. Under the Fiscal Year 2014 plan, $849 million will be financed through the sale of bonds.
The overall program of $3.8 billion reflects another $620 million for projects that are neither NJDOT nor
NJ TRANSIT-administered, but must be listed in the program because federal funds are attached to them. A prime example is the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s $350 million Goethals Bridge replacement project.
The NJDOT program proposes $318 million for roadway resurfacing, rehabilitation and preservation projects, about the same as last year, and $787 million for bridge improvements, an increase of $97 million compared to last year’s proposed program.
These investment levels keep the Department on target toward reaching condition benchmarks of 80 percent of roadways in acceptable condition by 2021 and 94 percent of NJDOT-owned bridges and bridge deck surface area in acceptable condition by 2021.
The Department has made significant progress in both areas in recent years, increasing pavement condition from 47 percent in 2008 to 59 percent today. Currently, 90 percent of the NJDOT inventory of 2,684 bridges is in acceptable condition. The Department anticipates cutting the number of structurally deficient bridges in half, to about 160 bridges, by 2021.
Major projects that are supported in the FY 14 plan include the $900 million Direct Connection project that will create safety and operational performance improvements at the interchange of I-295, I-76 and Route 42 in Camden County, and the $1 billion Pulaski Skyway rehabilitation project in Essex and Hudson counties.
The proposed program devotes $99 million to safety projects, the same as last year. Included in that is $11 million in funding for pedestrian and bicyclist safety projects that will be carried out by the Department and through Local Aid grants to municipalities.
Approximately 50-60 projects to build sidewalks, crosswalks and other features will be funded in FY 14.
The Department incorporates Complete Streets features into major capital projects that extend investment levels beyond the $11 million for standalone pedestrian and bicyclist safety projects. For instance, the Department has spent or plans to spend more than $40 million on Complete Streets features on the completed Route 36 Highlands Bridge, the nearly complete Route 52 Causeway, the ongoing Route 7 Wittpenn Bridge project and the planned Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project.
Three counties and 42 municipalities have followed the Department’s lead in adopting Complete Streets policies that elevate the importance of incorporating pedestrian and bicyclist accommodations into the planning and design phases of construction projects.
The proposed budget maintains state- and federal-funded Local Aid grants at $165 million, the same as last year. Nearly a dozen grant programs enable counties and municipalities to advance roadway, bridge and safety projects without burdening local property taxpayers. Overall Local System Support reaches $368 million in FY 14.
The proposed TRANSIT program invests $1.23 billion in NJ TRANSIT infrastructure projects and equipment purchases to maintain the statewide multimodal transit system in a state of good repair. It supports an ongoing rolling stock procurement program to modernize rail rolling stock and the corporation’s bus fleet.
Funds from the program will be used to:
Renovate and reconstruct the Elizabeth Train Station on the Northeast Corridor
Restore the Red Bank Station on the North Jersey Coast Line
Construct a new rail station and Midline loop in North Brunswick along the Northeast Corridor
Keep NJ TRANSIT’s bus and rail and light rail and Access Link systems in a state of good repair and running reliably.