Gov. Phil Murphy has announced funding to expand access to safe transportation and enhance areas around public transit facilities across the state.
The awards total more than $24 million across three programs as part of Murphy’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget.
Funding for the Local Aid and Economic Development Grants line item increased by nearly 50% over the last fiscal year, representing the Murphy Administration’s commitment to a wide range of transportation options and smart, transit-oriented development, according to a press release from Murphy’s office.
The Safe Streets to Transit Program will provide $13.4 million in funding to improve access to transit facilities and public transportation in counties and municipalities. Middletown ($997,000) and Red Bank ($243,000) have been awarded Safe Streets to Transit grants, according to the press release.
The Local Bikeway Program will provide $8.4 million to promote bicycling as an alternate mode of transportation, while the Transit Village Program will provide $2.9 million toward the revitalization and redevelopment of areas around transit facilities into mixed use neighborhoods. No local municipalities received funding from those two programs.
“In order to maximize the impact of our considerable public transportation upgrades, we must ensure our transit facilities are linked not just to economically thriving neighborhoods, but to streets that bring our community members to their destination reliably and efficiently,” Murphy was quoted as saying in the press release.
“For many New Jerseyans, commutes or daily travels do not begin and end at the train station. That is why my administration is doubling down on its efforts to promote active transportation alternatives and ensure that whether you are a pedestrian or cyclist, you can safely and affordably access our nation-leading public transportation network,” he said.
“The Department of Transportation is proud to support Gov. Murphy’s vision to make New Jersey more fair, equitable and environmentally friendly. We appreciate the Governor and the Legislature providing an additional $20 million this year for Bikeways, Safe Streets to Transit and Transit Village grants,” New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said.
“The increased funding means a record number of towns are receiving grants to create safer, more walkable and bikeable communities, and promote the use of public transportation,” she said.
Debra Kagan, executive director of the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition, said, “Coming at a critical time of rising traffic fatalities and serious injuries across our state, this significant increase in funding will help ensure better access to public transit for vulnerable road users and create more walkable and bikeable roads, an essential part of building a safer and more equitable transportation system for New Jersey.”