State to get additional $425M in grants for NJ Transit, DOT projects

The Federal Highway Administration has awarded an additional $425 million in federal transportation dollars to the New Jersey Department of Transportation for transportation projects, Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration announced Wednesday.

The FHWA provided $425 million in redistributed spending that will be split between projects for New Jersey Transit ($315 million) and the NJDOT ($110 million)

The $425 million total is the highest amount New Jersey has ever received, and the fourth-highest award nationwide, only behind California, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The award is part of the Federal August Redistribution process, which provides an opportunity for the FHWA to increase spending authority to state DOTs based on the availability of unused funds. Use of these funds must be approved by the FHWA no later than Sept. 30.

Since Murphy took office in 2018, the NJDOT has received $830 million in August Redistribution funds, more than four times the amount in the prior 10 years. State officials said the DOT was able to program such a significant amount of money thanks to strong collaboration with the FHWA under the leadership of FHWA Administrator Shailen Bhatt.

A look at where the money going to NJ Transit will be spent:

  • The Hilton Bus Garage modernization and electrification ($68.1 million): An ongoing design effort to modernize Hilton Bus Garage and prepare the facility for the deployment of battery electric buses;
  • Meadowlands Garage Battery Electric Bus Depot ($37.7 million): This project will implement the initial phase of a BEB depot at the Meadowlands Bus garage to support the deployment of articulated battery electric buses;
  • Passaic Bus Terminal ($15 million): A project for an all-new bus terminal in the heart of the Passaic business district, including larger bus berths to accommodate higher capacity articulated buses and the construction of new bus shelters;
  • Watsessing Avenue ($31.6 million) and Roselle Park ($9 million) station modernizations: These projects will renovate the stations, providing new platforms and canopies and installing elevators and ramps to allow for full accessibility.
  • Replacement of six bridges ($106.5 million): These projects will replace bridges in Little Falls, Readington, High Bridge and Bayonne, as well as two in Waterford.
  • Delco Lead ($33.8 million): This project is part of NJ Transit’s Resilience Program and will construct a storage location at a strategic location along the Northeast Corridor that is not flood-prone.
  • Long Branch Station Pedestrian Tunnel project ($7.9 million): This will reconnect the east and west halves of Long Branch, which are currently divided by the above-ground rail alignment. It will improve access to Long Branch Station for commuters and community members while connecting neighborhoods separated by the railroad tracks;
  • Hoboken Yard improvements ($5 million): This project includes design and construction of inspection pits in Hoboken Yard for required periodic inspections of multilevel rail cars, making those cars more readily available for service.

The NJDOT will use the funds for a variety of projects that will be advertised or awarded by the end of the year. These projects include pavement preservation, bridge preventative maintenance, bikeway and pedestrian safety improvements, and projects that will ease congestion and improve safety. Among the projects that will receive funding are:

  • Portway, Fish House Road/Pennsylvania Avenue, CR 659: This project will realign the roadway and reconfigure the intersection of Central Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue in Kearny. The roadway improvements will include drainage facilities and quality treatment areas.
  • Route 42, Kenney Ave. to Atlantic City Expressway: This project will resurface approximately 3 miles of the highway in both directions in Washington Township, Gloucester County.

Murphy obviously was thrilled with the awards.

“The support we have garnered from the federal government demonstrates our collective commitment to enhance the vital transportation services upon which our communities depend,” he said.

“I thank our congressional delegation for their persistent work in Washington to bring crucial federal dollars to our state, as well as Commissioner (Diane) Gutierrez-Scaccetti and her team for their continued efforts to provide funding for critical transportation projects. The Long Branch Station Pedestrian Tunnel project is a quintessential example of how my administration is working to build a nation-leading transportation network that is not only more modern and efficient, but more accessible for all New Jerseyans.”