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March 19, 2021 10:00 AM, EDT

New Jersey DOT Announces $30.1 Million for Local Freight Improvements

New JerseyGov. Phil Murphy speaks at a press conference pre-pandemic. (Seth Wenig/Associated Press)

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The New Jersey Department of Transportation announced $30.1 million has been awarded to counties and municipalities for projects meant to facilitate the safe movement of heavy truck traffic.

The 33 grants, announced March 17, were supported through the Local Freight Impact Fund program.

The program, distributed by NJDOT’s Local Aid and Economic Development division, was created in 2016 as part of the Transportation Trust Fund reauthorization. Agency officials assess potential projects on the basis of existing conditions, traffic volume, large truck traffic, crash frequency and connectivity to freight nodes.

“Having safe truck routes to efficiently move goods to and from New Jersey’s seaports, airports, warehouses and rail yards is integral to our state and regional economy,” said NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “Our roads and bridges carry a tremendous amount of commercial truck traffic every day and we are making the investments necessary to ensure the safety of our customers and communities alike.”

The grants were awarded to 29 municipalities and two counties, with each county receiving two grants.

Under the program, there are four project categories: pavement preservation, truck safety and mobility, bridge preservation and new construction.

Of the 33 awarded grants, there were 29 pavement preservation projects, two truck safety and mobility projects and two bridge preservation projects.

Both truck safety grants total $4 million and represent Middlesex County, which is located in the center of the state. One grant will support improvements to Woodbridge Avenue and Mill Road in Edison Township, which is about 10 miles west of Staten Island. The other grant will be directed to the Cranbury Road corridor in East Brunswick.

A pavement preservation grant, for $1.45 million, will improve truck routes in Carteret, a borough located across the Arthur Kill strait from Staten Island. Some $2.45 million spread across three grants will fund pavement preservation efforts in Cumberland County, which is located in southern New Jersey on the Delaware Bay.

Cumberland County also received $1.3 million for bridge preservation work on Port Norris Riverfront Roadway. The other bridge preservation grant, which totals $650,000, was directed to North Bergen Township, located across the Hudson River from Manhattan.

The $30.1 million in grant funding is accompanied by $21.4 million from the project sponsors, meaning the total investment in these projects is $51.5 million.

NJDOT received 41 applications requesting approximately $45 million for this round of funding.

According to the New Jersey Statewide Freight Plan, freight in New Jersey directly supported 260,000 jobs and generated $8.5 billion in gross personal income in 2013. The plan states New Jersey’s freight transportation system handled more than 511 million tons of freight in 2015.

In addition to freight movement, Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has also directed funds to clean transportation efforts. Murphy announced the investment of approximately $100 million in clean transportation projects, including an effort to deploy electric trucks, Feb. 16.

The funding is meant to improve air quality and reduce the effects of climate change — contributing to New Jersey’s goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.

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