Seven NJ Transit projects to advance with $43M in federal funding

Bus Garage Electrification in North Jersey, Solar Bus Shelters, Electric Mini-Buses, Microtransit Shuttles and Bike Sheds to move forward 

NJ Transit together with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority on Wednesday $43.6 million in federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act funding will be provided to seven NJ Transit projects which advance sustainability, bus garage electrification and first/last mile transportation solutions.

The funding will be made available to NJ TRANSIT as part of NJTPA’s Fiscal Year 2022-2025 Transportation Improvement Program.

Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. (File photo)

“By working together at a regional level, we can identify, prioritize and advance critical projects to make the transit system more accessible and sustainable,” New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “The projects selected are exciting opportunities to continue promoting the electrification of buses, using solar power in bus shelters and modernizing our bus network to meet future transportation demand.”

“With this funding, our state will receive several upgrades to increase efficiency while strengthening environmental protections,” U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., who helped approve this funding as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act stated.

Kevin Corbett. (File photo)

“NJ Transit and the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority collaborated closely to select a slate of innovative, environmentally-friendly, and forward-looking projects to receive this vital federal funding,” NJ Transit President & CEO Kevin Corbett said. “As a result, NJ TRANSIT will now advance seven key projects – improving service, first mile/last mile, and micro-mobility options for customers, while supporting New Jersey’s sustainability goals outlined in Governor Murphy’s Energy Master Plan.”

The seven projects included in the funding allotment include:

Hilton Bus Garage Electrification Project ($24.5M) – The Hilton Bus Garage electrification project is the next step in NJ TRANSIT’s progress to the transition to a fully zero emission bus fleet in accordance with state law. The Hilton Bus Garage electrification project in Essex County will implement an overhead pantograph charging system that is both hands-free for increased safety and scalable for mass-charging use.

Microtransit Shuttle Pilot Routes ($7M) – NJ TRANSIT seeks to create two or more community shuttle services to provide first/last mile access to transit hubs, thereby extending the reach of transit to areas where traditional fixed route service may be infeasible or ineffective.  Pilot locations may include connecting residential areas of Monmouth County with the main Rt. 9 corridor, connecting two highly utilized bus corridors between Englewood and Teaneck in Bergen County or first/last mile solutions in the Port Newark/Newark Airport area.

Solar Bus Shelters – Retrofit and New Design Constructability & Pilot Implementation ($6M) – NJ TRANSIT is undertaking the design of a new, state of the art solar powered, low maintenance bus shelter. The primary intentions are to improve safety by providing solar powered lighting, and to develop a practical but aesthetically pleasing shelter design.

Bike Sheds ($2M) – NJ TRANSIT is preparing an RFP to obtain a service provider to build, operate, and maintain bike “sheds” that can store multiple bicycles and scooters at rail and bus hubs.

Electric Mini-Buses ($1.5M) – NJ TRANSIT operates minibuses in its Access Link complementary paratransit system and also purchases and distributes minibuses for use by county, municipal, and non-profit subrecipients of Federal Transit Administration Section 5310 and 5311 funds. The CRRSSA funds would allow NJ TRANSIT to purchase up to five (5) battery electric minibuses and chargers to deploy in the NJTPA region as part of the Access Link fleet, potentially through a cooperative purchase with another state also pursuing battery electric minibuses. T

Local Electric Vehicle Minibus Transition Study and Technical Support ($1M) – Interest in transitioning to battery-electric minibuses by NJ TRANSIT’s Access Link paratransit system, and local and non-profit recipients is growing, and electrification of buses is a key regional greenhouse gas reduction strategy. Small transportation providers face challenges transitioning to an electric vehicle (EV) fleet, including cost, procurement, charging facilities, maintenance and safety, driver training, and adjustment of routing and scheduling to meet the operational characteristics of EVs.

NewBus Hudson ($1M) – This bus network redesign project aims to better understand ridership trends and other barriers to mass transit usage in Hudson County. Study tactics include a market assessment of specific localities and potential customers to determine effectiveness and competitiveness of transit options; service evaluation, an analysis of strengths, deficiencies, gaps, and opportunities of the existing local bus network; and stakeholder and public involvement intended to develop a comprehensive Public Involvement Plan that identifies a range of outreach approaches targeting key internal and external stakeholders.