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BOARD APPROVES NJ TRANSIT'S LOCAL AND COMMUNITY TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM

Includes $34 Million for Fixed-Route and Specialized Services

CONTACT: Michael Klufas (973-491-7078)

NEWARK, NJ, June 13, 2001 -- As part of its mission to provide statewide, affordable public transportation, NJ TRANSIT partners with all 21 of the Garden State's counties to fund local public transportation programs. These programs provide local fixed-route service as well as specialized service for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

NJ TRANSIT's Board of Directors today continued this effort by approving five programs for Fiscal Year 2002:

  • $24.82 million to operate the state-funded Senior Citizen and Disabled Resident Transportation Assistance Program.
  • $2.25 million for Section 5310 programs, which provide federal funds for the purchase of vehicles and related equipment by private, non-profit agencies and designated public entities.
  • $4.21 million for Section 5311 programs, which provide federal funds for capital, administrative and operating assistance for public transportation services in small urban and rural areas of New Jersey.
  • $87,640 in federal funding for the Rural Transit Assistance Program, which provides training and technical assistance for small transit operators receiving Section 5310 and 5311 funding.
  • $3 million for the Jobs Access and Reverse Commute Program, a part of the WORK FIRST New Jersey initiative under which counties provide public transportation services to help WORK FIRST participants obtain convenient transportation to employment opportunities.

"The $34.4 million we are allocating for these programs is an investment in programs that benefit all of New Jersey's 21 counties as well as private and non-profit organizations around the state," said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein. "Thousands of people can travel around New Jersey more easily because of the transportation options provided through these programs."

"The funding provided by these programs allows NJ TRANSIT, counties and other organizations to enhance travel opportunities for local residents," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jeffrey A. Warsh. "These programs increase the mobility of New Jerseyans who choose not to own a car or are unable to drive, especially persons with disabilities, senior citizens and those living in rural areas."

Implementation of New Jersey's Local and Community Services Transportation Programs will begin on July 1, 2001. Below is a summary of the five programs:

Senior Citizen and Disabled Resident Transportation Assistance Program

Acting Governor Donald DiFrancesco has recommended $24.82 million be appropriated for this program in his Fiscal Year 2002 budget. The program is funded from the Casino Revenue Tax Fund.

As part of the program, 85 percent of the annual appropriation -- $21.1 million -- will be distributed among New Jersey's 21 counties. The remaining 15 percent -- $3.72 million -- will be allocated to NJ TRANSIT to provide technical assistance to the counties, to coordinate the program within and among the counties, and for bus and rail accessibility projects.

Each year, counties transport approximately 1.8 million senior citizens and persons with disabilities as part of this program.

Section 5310 Program and Grant

Section 5310 of the Federal Transit Act provides funds for states to purchase vehicles for lease to private, non-profit agencies that provide special transit service for senior citizens and people with disabilities. The federal allocation for this program is $2.25 million. The required match -- to be provided by NJ TRANSIT -- will not exceed $563,257.

Under the program, federal funds can be used to pay up to 80 percent of the vehicles' cost. Since NJ TRANSIT assumed administration of this program in 1979, more than 800 vehicles have been purchased for non-profit organizations and other public bodies throughout the state.

Applications for this program are reviewed by a committee and scored based upon specific criteria. This year, NJ TRANSIT has received more than 100 applications from private non-profit organizations, municipalities and counties seeking one or more vehicles.

Section 5311 Program and Grant

Section 5311 of the Federal Transit Act provides capital, administrative and operating assistance for public transportation services in small urban and rural areas of New Jersey. The Fiscal Year 2002 program contains $4.21 million in federal, NJ TRANSIT and matching funds from local grant recipients. NJ TRANSIT will disperse the funds to 16 recipients.

Since the program's inception in 1979, NJ TRANSIT has provided half of the matching funds for all Section 5311 projects, with recipients providing the other half. Up to 15 percent of the annual federal allocation for the program can be set aside to cover NJ TRANSIT's administrative costs.

Rural Transit Assistance Program

The $87,460 of federal funds available through the program for Fiscal Year 2002 allows NJ TRANSIT to provide training and technical assistance for all small transit operators receiving Section 5311 or Section 5310 funds.

The program allows NJ TRANSIT to continue driver training, as well as provide training and technical assistance for small transit managers, dispatchers, mechanics and other support staff members. The training is conducted by NJ TRANSIT staff through workshops and training programs.

Jobs Access and Reverse Commute Program

This program provides federal funds for counties to make public transportation available to participants in New Jersey's Work First program.

This year, $6 million will be available to fund 20 projects. The local match for this grant is split among several funding sources, including the New Jersey Department of Human Services, the New Jersey Department of Labor's Welfare To Work program, and local providers.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing bus, rail and light rail services for 383,900 daily commuters on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 26 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.

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