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Continuing in its effort to meet the transportation needs of senior citizens and persons with disabilities, NJ TRANSIT will apply to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for funding to purchase fully accessible vans and minibuses under the fiscal year 2004 FTA Section 5310 Grant Program. The Corporation will coordinate and review all organization applications and submit a consolidated statewide application to the federal government.

“These vehicles will allow community organizations to better serve senior citizens and customers with disabilities by providing them with additional transportation options,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. “The 5310 Grant Program has proven to be very beneficial to local communities who want to provide transportation to residents who may be unable to do so on their own.”

The application process is open to eligible private non-profit agencies and pre-certified public organizations. To apply or find out more about the program, please request an application in writing to: NJ TRANSIT, Local Programs Support, One Penn Plaza East - 4th Floor, Newark, NJ 07105-2246, Attn. Section 5310 Program.

The application is also available online (click here) and applications can be requested by fax to 973-491-7367. Applications will be made available after December 22nd and must be completed and returned to NJ TRANSIT by January 30, 2004.

The grant process is comprised of four steps:

An agency and/or organization requests and then completes an application.

NJ TRANSIT reviews the applications received. Based upon established criteria a number of the applications are selected for inclusion in the federal grant.

There is a federal review and grant approval process.

Finally, after receiving the federal grant approval, NJ TRANSIT goes out to bid for the vehicles. Once the vehicles are delivered, NJ TRANSIT will enter into a no-fee agreement with the approved applicants.

Prospective applicants should be aware that insurance, fuel and maintenance costs are the responsibility of the applicant. In some cases a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) will be required to operate these vehicles. All vehicles purchased are lift-equipped in order to accommodate mobility devices and vehicles purchased have diesel engines. The federal government also requires that operators with a CDL participate in a certified drug and alcohol-testing program.

Since 1981 NJ TRANSIT has purchased over 900 vehicles for organizations serving seniors and persons with disabilities throughout the State of New Jersey. It is anticipated that available funding for fiscal year 2004 will allow NJ TRANSIT to purchase approximately 50 new vans and minibuses.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 752,600 daily trips on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 161 rail stations, 28 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.