$3.8 million to redevelop 14 NJ communities into public transit-orient "developments that reduce the reliance on vehicles."
Governor Murphy and Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti announced on January 31st a $3.8 million investment in "Transit Village grants" for the fiscal year 2022.
A press release from the Governor's Office claims the funding aims to help municipalities in New Jersey “advance transit-oriented development projects that reduce reliance on vehicles and encourage usage of mass transportation.”
The $3.8 million grant is the largest single-year investment in the Transit Village Initiative since its creation in 1999.
This year, grants were awarded to 14 municipalities in nine New Jersey counties - but Morristown wasn't one of them.
The press release goes on to say that, along with transportation infrastructure improvements, New Jersey’s grant will focus on “promoting economic growth near rail and bus stations.” Funding will be used to build additional, "dense" housing units, and encourage businesses to open within walking distance of public transit facilities.
The Murphy Administration hopes that by improving infrastructure around public transit reliance on personal vehicles will drop and reduce New Jersey’s environmental impact.
What this all means:
- the money will be used to encourage people and businesses to move into towns based around major transportation hubs (like Morristown Train Station)
- the goal is to make communities in a 1/4 mile radius of major transport hubs (train, bus, ferry) foot-reliant, or liveable without the need for a car.
- the hope is that this will lower the ecological footprint of these 14 NJ communities
- Another goal seems to be to get more people to use public transportation (although NJ has notoriously bad public transportation)
The Transit Village Program is a multi-agency state initiative that allows communities with public transit facilities within their borders to seek designation as a Transit Village and develop plans for the redevelopment of public transit and the creation of dense, local housing options near transit facilities.
Transit Villages can serve commuter rail, bus, ferry, or light rail.
The initiative creates incentives for community areas around public transit to create “attractive, vibrant, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods where people can live, shop, work and play without relying on automobiles.”
The $3.8 million comes in part from further legislation that awards $13.5 million to Grant-in-Aid programs in 2022 like the Transit Village Program, Safe Streets to Transit Program, and Bicycle & Pedestrian Facilities/Accommodations.
The NJ Transit Village Initiative, for which NJ receives an annual $1 million, received an extra $2.82 million bringing FY 2022s investment in the program to just over $3.8 million.
33 New Jersey municipalities participate in the Transit Village Program, one of which is Morristown, NJ. (But only 14 will receive any of the $3.8 million.)
Each Transit Village may submit one application for funding, yearly. Projects for proposed funding must be within one-half mile of a transit facility within the municipality’s borders.
Morristown, NJ while listed as a Transit Village taking part in the program, was not listed as a recipient for funding in the 2022 fiscal year.