$7.8 million awarded in second
of FY97 municipal aid grants
Governor Christie Whitman and Transportation Commissioner John J. Haley Jr. today announced the award of $7.8 million for municipal street repair and resurfacing projects in a second round of grants through the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT) Local Aid program. To date, the Governor and Commissioner have announced $125 million in grants from the FY97 Local Aid program, which disburses funds to municipalities and counties for local road projects.
"When I said in my State-of-the-State address that ‘we are on the right road to a brighter future,’ one of the programs I was speaking of is the NJDOT’s Local Aid program. It literally helps municipal and county governments build and maintain those roads that lead to a brighter future," Governor Whitman said.
The grants, representing discretionary allotments, will fund 64 projects in 64 municipalities. Discretionary funding is awarded to those projects that are deemed critical to a municipality but did not rate highly enough for formula allocations awarded earlier this year. A list of those municipal projects receiving discretionary awards is attached.
"We have made the Local Aid program bigger and better because, in addition to providing property tax relief, it creates jobs," Commissioner Haley said. "The type of work we fund through the program, typically resurfacing and reconstruction projects, generates the greatest numbers of construction and related jobs. We estimate that every $100 million invested in road projects results in 3,800 jobs."
In February, the Governor and Commissioner announced $58.5 million in municipal aid grants, $3 million of which were discretionary allotments, along with $58.5 million in grants to the counties. Municipal and county aid funding are based on a formula that takes into account population and road mileage. In addition, municipal projects are selected for funding on a competitive basis by a panel of engineers who take into account the condition of a roadway, the amount of traffic it carries and the role the road plays in the surrounding transportation network.
The Local Aid Program is supported by the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund. Under legislation signed into law in 1995 by Governor Whitman, the Transportation Trust Fund was renewed and local aid funding was increased from $100 million to $130 million per year.
Whitman and Haley also noted that, in conjunction with the reauthorization of the Trust Fund, municipalities are able to receive 75 percent of the grant once a construction contract is awarded. The remaining 25 percent is released upon completion of the project. In prior years, a municipality had to pay for the construction up front then seek reimbursement from the state.
"This affords municipalities the ability to have the money in hand to begin the project, rather than having to go out and borrow and pay those associated costs. It’s another way we help municipalities meet their road construction needs while at the same time we do no put an undue strain on their budgets," Haley said.