MORRIS COUNTY — Governor Phil Murphy announced $161.25 million in Municipal Aid grants, with 543 cities and towns across the state receiving funds to advance road, bridge, safety, and quality-of-life improvements, demonstrating the Department of Transportation’s Commitment to Communities.
The competitive Municipal Aid grant program attracted 635 applications from 549 different municipalities with a total of $342 million requested. Project applications were evaluated and rated on their merits by NJDOT staff and reviewed by an independent panel of New Jersey municipal engineers. This process resulted in 548 awards to 543 municipalities, totaling $161.25 million. The 2016 Transportation Trust Fund renewal has made it possible to continue to award $161.25 million annually – more than double the $78.75 million that was available before the TTF renewal. In addition, the extra funds have allowed the Department to increase the number of municipalities receiving grants from about 370 a year prior to the TTF renewal to 543 municipalities this year.
“These grants are a further demonstration of the partnership between my Administration and our communities to build a stronger, safer, and more modern transportation network,” said Governor Murphy. “In a state as densely populated as New Jersey, where our interconnectedness is a strength, these vital investments will increase safety, foster mobility, and improve the quality-of-life for New Jerseyans statewide.”
“The Murphy Administration maintains its commitment to communities by providing municipalities the resources to make important safety, infrastructure, and quality-of-life improvements without burdening local property taxpayers,” NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti stated. “We were pleased to award grants to nearly every municipality in New Jersey.”
Under the Municipal Aid grant program, each county has apportioned a share of the total funding based on population and the number of local centerline miles. Municipalities compete for portions of their county’s share. NJDOT provides 75 percent of the grant amount when a town awards a contract and the remaining 25 percent upon completion of the project. Of the $161.25 million, $10 million is allotted for municipalities qualifying for Urban Aid as defined under state law, with the amounts determined by the Department of Community Affairs. This year, Cliffside Park in Bergen County and Harrison in Hudson County were added to the list of Urban Aid recipients.
Applications for Municipal Aid grants were submitted to NJDOT by July 1, 2020, and have been judiciously reviewed. There are seven project categories within the Municipal Aid grant program eligible for funding: Roadway Preservation, Roadway Safety, Quality of Life, Mobility, Bikeway, Pedestrian Safety, and Bridge Preservation. Past performance in connection with the timely award of projects and construction close-out factors were part of the evaluation of the proposals.
When evaluating applications, NJDOT also verifies if the municipality has adopted a Complete Streets policy. A Complete Streets policy establishes guidelines that require consideration to be given to pedestrians and bicyclists when local transportation projects are being planned, designed, and built. A total of $62,643,78 will be allocated to 193 municipalities with Complete Streets policies.