NEWARK, NJ � The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today authorized the expenditure of $46 million in federal and state funds to implement local transportation programs for 2009, providing critical transportation for senior citizens, persons with disabilities, economically-disadvantaged commuters and rural residents.
Each of the programs extends or complements existing NJ TRANSIT services. The programs include:
- Two federal programs called Jobs Access and Reverse Commute and New Freedom Programs, which provide operating and capital assistance for public transportation services identified in Human Services Coordinated Community Transportation Plans developed by each of the 21 counties.
- The State's Senior Citizen and Disabled Resident Transportation Assistance Program.
- A federal program to purchase vehicles and related equipment for private, non-profit agencies and designated public entities.
- A federal program to provide capital, administrative and operating assistance for public transportation services in small urban and rural areas of New Jersey.
- The Federal Rural Transit Assistance Program, which provides training and technical assistance for small transit operators.
"The $46 million we are allocating is an investment in programs that benefit all of New Jersey's 21 counties, as well as private and non-profit organizations throughout the state," said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Stephen Dilts. "The transportation options provided through these programs enable thousands of residents to travel more easily around the state."
"The funding provided by these programs allows for the development of coordinated, community-based transportation services, extending the reach of NJ TRANSIT service in some areas and filling in gaps in service where there is need," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles. "These programs offer increased mobility for many New Jersey residents, including people with disabilities, senior citizens and those living in rural areas."
NJ TRANSIT partners with all 21 New Jersey counties to fund local public transportation programs.
The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today continued this effort by approving the following programs for 2009:
- $33.0 million to operate the state-funded Senior Citizen and Disabled Resident Transportation Assistance Program.
- $4.8 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.
- $3.9 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.
- $96,108 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.
- $6.3 million for the Jobs Access and Reverse Commute Program, a part of the New Jersey's initiative under which counties provide public transportation services to help residents obtain convenient transportation to employment opportunities.
Below is a summary of the five programs:
New Freedom Program
This program provides funding for capital and operating expenses that support new transportation services beyond those required by the American with Disabilities Act. Approximately $2.7 million in federal funds is available and, as a new program, the first applications from local operators are currently being solicited.
Senior Citizen and Disabled Resident Transportation Assistance Program
The state�s 2009 budget contains $33.0 million for this program. The program is funded from the Casino Revenue Tax Fund. As part of the program, 85 percent of the annual appropriation�$28.0 million�will be distributed among New Jersey's 21 counties. The remaining 15 percent�$4.95 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 $3.8 million. The twenty percent (20%) required match�to be provided by NJ TRANSIT�will not exceed $960,000.
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 1,300 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 90 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 2009-2010 program contains $2.75 million in federal funds.
NJ TRANSIT provides half the match, which will equal $1.2 million, with the balance of the match provided by the local operator. NJ TRANSIT will disperse the funds to 13 ongoing services and one new service scheduled to start during 2009.
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 $96,108 of federal funding available through the program for Fiscal Year 2009 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. NJ TRANSIT works closely with the National Transit Institute at Rutgers University to identify needs and provide 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 Welfare to Work program. This year, $6.3 million will be available for as many as 24 projects. The local match for this grant is split among several funding sources, including the New Jersey Department of Human Services and local providers.
About NJ TRANSIT
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.