NEWARK, NJ, June 12, 2002 -- In the spirit of Community Transportation Services week announced by Governor James E. McGreevey, the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today authorized the expenditure of $40 million to implement five ambitious transportation programs for Fiscal Year 2003 (July 1, 2002 - June 30, 2003).
Each of the programs is an extension of existing NJ TRANSIT services, providing critical transportation for senior citizens, persons with disabilities and rural residents.
The programs include:
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.
Funding for the Jobs Access and Reverse Commute Program, a part of the New Jersey's Welfare to Work initiative.
"The $40 million we are allocating is an investment in programs that benefit all of New Jersey's 21 counties, something strongly supported by the Governor," said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox. "Providing public transportation to all New Jerseyans is an essential part of the State's economic vitality."
"These programs increase the mobility of New Jerseyans who -- in many cases -- are unable to drive, especially persons with disabilities, senior citizens and those living in rural areas. These programs also help us to achieve our mission to provide statewide, affordable public transportation," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington.
NJ TRANSIT partners with all 21 of the Garden State's counties to fund local public transportation programs. These programs -- which were recently recognized by the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) -- provide local fixed-route service as well as specialized service for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today continued this effort by approving the following programs for Fiscal Year 2003:
$24.9 million to operate the state-funded Senior Citizen and Disabled Resident Transportation Assistance Program.
$2.4 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.
$2.79 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.
$87,887 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.
$3.5 million for the Jobs Access and Reverse Commute Program, a part of the New Jersey's Welfare to Work initiative under which counties provide public transportation services to help Welfare to Work participants obtain convenient transportation to employment opportunities.
Implementation of New Jersey's Local and Community Services Transportation Programs will begin on July 1, 2002. Below is a summary of the five programs:
Senior Citizen and Disabled Resident Transportation Assistance Program
Governor James McGreevey has recommended $24.9 million be appropriated for this program in his Fiscal Year 2003 budget. The program is funded from the Casino Revenue Tax Fund.
As part of the program, 85 percent of the annual appropriation -- $21.2 million -- will be distributed among New Jersey's 21 counties. The remaining 15 percent -- $3.74 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 $2.4 million. The required match -- to be provided by NJ TRANSIT -- will not exceed $618,706.
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 2003 program contains $3.79 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 $87,889 of federal funds available through the program for Fiscal Year 2003 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 Welfare to Work program.
This year, $3.5 million will be available to fund 22 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.
The Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) recently awarded NJ TRANSIT with its 2002 Excellence Award. CTAA is the national organization representing the interest of smaller community transit operators. The award acknowledges the role NJ TRANSIT had not only in response to September 11, but also in serving the community as a whole.
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing bus, rail and light rail services for 380,600 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 163 rail stations, 26 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.