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Capital Improvements

Section 1
Capital Investment

Section 2
Projects By Activity

Section 3
NJDOT Project &
Program Descriptions

Section 4
NJ Transit Projects

Section 5

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Proposed Transportation Capital Program
Fiscal Year 2004

NJDOT/NJ Transit Capital Investment Strategy
FY 2004 - 2008

"Smart Transportation for Smart Growth"

The Proposed Transportation Capital Program for Fiscal Year 2004 describes all the capital investments planned by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and NJ TRANSIT for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2003. A proposed five-year capital program, which has also been developed, which will be used as the basis for preparing transportation improvement programs required under federal law. Both of these programs are the products of extensive, ongoing participation by the state's three metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and a wide variety of stakeholders. Both programs are driven by New Jersey's transportation goals and objectives, as laid out in this "capital investment strategy" report.

"Capital investment strategy" is the term used in New Jersey for a method of linking transportation investments with goals, objectives, and performance measures. New Jersey is a national leader in the development of this approach, which ensures that scarce financial resources are used as efficiently as possible to address our most important needs.

This year's capital investment strategy is designed to implement the Governor's transportation policy, especially as set forth in Executive Order Number 43, signed at New Jersey's First Annual Transportation Conference. In the words of the executive order:

In a time of limited resources it is important to identify and prioritize transportation needs and allocate available resources by incorporating the principles of "Fix it First" and "Smart Growth."

This report provides an overview of NJDOT's and NJ TRANSIT's capital programs and concludes with a summary of the revenues which are planned to be used to finance these programs.

Smart Growth
NJDOT is committed to implementing Smart Growth policy through transportation investments. In the words of Executive Order Number 43, "smart growth principles will focus and direct transportation investments into the redevelopment of our older urban and suburban areas, protect existing open space, conserve natural resources, increase transportation options and transportation availability, reduce automobile traffic and dependency, stabilize property taxes, and provide affordable housing."

NJDOT has a multi-pronged strategy for implementing Smart Growth. Some of the key elements are:

Focus investments on preserving and improving existing infrastructure ("Fix it First")
NJDOT is aggressively implementing projects and programs that will reduce the backlog of deficient bridges, repair highways, and ensure the safety and integrity of our transportation system. Separate sections in this report will detail our work on bridges, roadway preservation, and safety.

Limit investments in highway capacity increases
Building new roads and adding new lanes to existing roads is the traditional solution to traffic congestion. However, projects to build these improvements are very expensive and can promote sprawl development. Therefore, NJDOT has "capped" spending for highway capacity increases at no more than 4% of the total transportation capital program.

Less then 4% of funding goes for new roads

Combat congestion through smarter transportation
NJDOT will pursue a variety of "smarter" approaches to the congestion problem, including an aggressive new program of building more park-and-ride lots to promote transit and ridesharing. More details on the congestion program are provided in a special section of this report.

Defer, review, and redesign projects that might subsidize sprawl
Traffic congestion in suburban and rural areas is often a direct result of poorly planned "sprawl" development. Highway projects designed to relieve this congestion can be seen as rewarding past sprawl and encouraging more. NJDOT is reviewing every project it is working on to identify those that might "subsidize sprawl" if built as currently designed. Several projects have been deferred for more intensive review. NJDOT will work with the appropriate towns, counties, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), other state agencies, and the Governor's Office of Smart Growth to ensure that (1) good local planning and zoning is in place to promote Smart Growth and prevent sprawl and (2) the project is properly designed to fix a specific problem without causing more problems. In some cases, a quick review will enable a project to go forward without significant changes. In other cases, it may be impossible to build a project that meets Smart Growth criteria. In most cases, it is our hope that a serious dialogue on land use and transportation planning with all the right state and local agencies will produce a solution that solves transportation problems while promoting Smart Growth. An example of a successful review process is the redesign of the planned Route 206 Hillsborough Bypass in Somerset County. The bypass has been redesigned to eliminate two planned interchanges and to reduce the number of lanes in some areas. The new bypass will take through traffic away from the planned Hillsborough town center without encouraging sprawl development.

Promote access to and mobility within urban centers
The proposed five-year capital program contains funding for key projects that will promote the redevelopment of urban centers through improved access and mobility. These include:

  • The new Elizabeth River viaduct will be a striking gateway to the City of Elizabeth.$72 million over three years for construction of a new Elizabeth River viaduct in Union County.
  • Completion of improvements on Route 21 (McCarter Highway) in downtown Newark.
  • More than $200 million for reconstruction of the Route 139 approaches to the Holland Tunnel and more than $150 million for replacement of the Route 1&9T bridge over St. Paul's Avenue, both in Hudson County.
  • Continued funding for local circulationimprovements in Newark, Camden, and Trenton.
  • Development of a new "smart highway"system on the access roads serving Trenton.
  • Construction of the University Heights Connector providing improved access from I-280 to downtown Newark.
  • Construction of improvements at I-676 and Martin Luther King Boulevard, serving downtown Camden.
  • Landscaping and operational improvements on Route 82 in Union County, serving downtown Elizabeth.

Promote open space preservation and sprawl prevention in rural areas
New Jersey still has rural highways which traverse farmlands and woodlands and which provide good mobility to travelers passing through and to the residents of the small towns and villages of the area. Many of these rural highways are endangered by sprawl development-development which will eliminate scenic vistas, turn farmlands into subdivisions, erode the rural quality of life that local residents want, and cause traffic congestion. Smart Growth planning in rural areas can stop sprawl and maintain mobility for the traveling public. NJDOT is supporting a pilot project in the Route 57 corridor in Warren County to invest in open space preservation to preserve mobility. A $5 million investment is programmed for fiscal year 2004. These funds will be used to work with towns along the corridor to promote development and redevelopment in towns and villages while preserving open space in the land between them. As funds become available, NJDOT hopes to expand this pilot program to offer other rural areas a chance to plan a better future for their residents while preserving and improving mobility options for all our citizens.

Redesign and rebuild our suburban strips
Many of New Jersey's state highways are characterized by suburban sprawl-strip shopping centers, fast food restaurants, "big box" retail centers, and jumbles of signs, driveways, and parking lots. These suburban strips are the very opposite of Smart Growth. The highways themselves-designed for the needs of the middle of the 20th century-are often substandard, deteriorated, and ill-suited to meet the needs of the 21st century. Nevertheless, these roads carry huge amounts of traffic and represent enormous economic investment. Leading developers, planners, and architects around the country have demonstrated that these older suburban strips can be redesigned, rebuilt, and revitalized. NJDOT is supporting a pilot project to rehabilitate the Route 130 corridor in Burlington County in partnership with the county, the towns, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and other agencies. Local citizens are actively involved in replanning and redesigning the corridor for the 21st century. Other corridors throughout the state-areas along Route 46, Route 1, Route 22, Route 9, and others-are candidates for future redevelopment efforts. The rebuilding of these suburban strip corridors will take many years and an enormous amount of money-money which is not yet available. However, NJDOT is committed to beginning this effort for the future.

Map of the rejuvenated Route 130 Corridor

New Jersey continues to face a significant "fix it first" challenge in bringing its roadway bridges into a state of good repair. Our more than 5,000 bridges provide key links for the movement of people and goods. About 17% of these bridges (weighted for size of bridge) are structurally deficient, meaning that they require extensive rehabilitation or replacement. Bridges on the designated National Highway System (Interstate and other major highways) are in relatively good condition. However, a small number of major, high-cost bridge improvement projects provide a major funding challenge over the next several years. Bridges carrying local roads are in relatively poorer condition, but the backlog of deficient local bridges is being reduced, thanks to the effects of the Local Bridge Bond program and other investments.

The proposed five-year capital program will continue a very high investment level in bridges-about $300 million a year. Although this investment will bring a gradual improvement, an increased investment level would bring a faster rate of improvement.

NJDOT is also pursuing faster and lower-cost bridge repair techniques, including bridge deck replacement and historic bridge preservation projects.

Roadway preservation
New Jersey's state highways carry very high amounts of traffic and, due in large part to underfunding of repair and maintenance work over many years, require large investments to improve their ability to carry heavy loads and to provide a smooth ride to motorists. The proposed five-year capital program funds a comprehensive pavement program, consisting of various treatments for highway problems. The pavement management program aims at implementing "the right treatment at the right time at the right place at the right cost." These treatments include relatively expensive rehabilitation and reconstruction projects for serious problems, less expensive resurfacing projects which extend roadway life and improve smoothness, and a wide range of lower-cost and often innovative repair techniques.

The funding provided in the proposed five-year capital program will hold overall pavement conditions at approximately current levels in the short term. However, increased investments in roadway preservation will be needed in the future. Many segments of our interstate highway system are reaching an age at which they will need substantial rehabilitation or reconstruction. A recent study undertaken for NJDOT's pavement management system calculates that $2.9 billion should be spent over the next 10 years on our interstate highways to bring them all to a desirable condition. Investments of this size are not possible within existing and projected budgets, so difficult choices will need to be made over the next several years.

Combating congestion
Traffic congestion is a problem that motorists and bus riders face every day in New Jersey. In the words of Executive Order Number 43, "New Jersey drivers waste 261 million hours sitting in traffic, costing each New Jersey driver nearly $1,300 per year, negatively impacting our quality of life and losing valuable time that could be better spent with our families."

NJDOT is committed to combating congestion through providing more mobility options and smarter transportation improvements. Some of our key approaches are:

  • An expanded park-and-ride program, with a goal of providing 20,000 new parking spaces over the next five years to make transit and ridesharing more available to more people.
  • An expanded signage program to provide clearer, user-friendly information to motorists. NJDOT will expedite traffic-engineering decision making by providing quicker service and by delegating more decisions to county and municipal officials.
  • An expanded program of low-cost, quick-turnaround congestion relief projects, funded under the Fast Move program.
  • An expanded program of high-tech "intelligent transportation system" improvements, including more low-cost, quick-turnaround "Smart Move" projects and engineering work for new interconnections with New Jersey's traffic operations centers.
  • Continued concentration of NJDOT resources on the "top 10" congested areas, with planning both for short-term and long-term improvements.
  • Continued funding for highway operational improvements, including redesigning bottleneck intersections and traffic circles. These projects will be concentrated in the already congested urban and suburban areas of the state. In fact, 56 of the 73 projects programmed for same phase of work in the proposed five-year capital program are located in these areas.
  • Limited funding for a select number of highway capacity increases, including adding new lanes to existing highways and building new bypasses. As discussed in the Smart Growth section of this report, funding for these projects will be strictly limited and only those projects which meet strict Smart Growth criteria will be advanced.
  • Partnerships with counties, towns, and other agencies to address congestion problems in rural and environmentally sensitive areas of the state through such means as better land use planning, better planning of access to state highways, motorist advisory services, and carefully designed operational improvements.

As directed by the Governor in Executive Order Number 43, NJDOT is developing a new highway safety initiative, "designed to reduce accidents on our highways through improved infrastructure, driver education, and traffic safety compliance enforcement." Some of the key elements of the proposed five-year capital program which advance this initiative include:

  • An expanded pedestrian safety program focused especially on children-the "Safe Streets to Schools" program.
  • A new "Median Crossover Crash Prevention" program, which will significantly reduce the chances of head-on collisions on divided highways.
  • Continued emphasis on treating the "top 10" safety locations through a variety of short-term and long-term improvements.
  • Funding for the installation of 500 miles of raised pavement reflectors to decrease the number of crashes caused by poor visibility.

The proposed Fiscal Year 2004 Transportation Capital Program for NJ TRANSIT represents the first full year of the transition from previous commitments to a new "back to basics" approach. It reaffirms and strengthens priorities aimed at providing the required resources to address the needs of the 400,000 existing transit riders serviced by NJ TRANSIT's core system.

Much of the proposed capital program, by necessity, fulfills prior year commitments. The financial context in which the program has been composed is so constrained by these prior obligations that the setting of clear investment priorities was essential to ensure that the available remaining resources address critical "back to basics" projects.

The proposed program also supports several new priorities that resulted from the work of the Capital Priorities Task Force which was established to address overall capital issues. The outcome of the Task Force work assures that basic system safety, reliability, and capacity needs are met on a sustained basis before any additional large system expansion projects are advanced.

The following priorities established the framework for Fiscal Year 2004 and for future capital program spending:

  • Meeting all system safety requirements and mandates
  • Ensuring system reliability by meeting state of good repair needs
  • Addressing pressing system capacity demands
  • Leveraging assets and technology for business improvement and efficiency
  • Investing in system expansion

Back to Basics
Photo of the New Southern NJ  Rail System which will begin service to Camden and other Delaware River towns in 2003.In this capital program, essential safetyand other mandates aremet and added attention has been given to ensure a state of good repair for the extensive NJ TRANSIT rail network, including tracks, yards, signals, bridges, and tunnels. During the five-year period of this program, automatic train control and positive train stop will have been installed on the entire NJ TRANSIT-owned rail system. Replacement of overage buses, maintenance facilities, trains, and repair equipment is also included. Increased parking capacity by adding needed spaces and rehabilitating some existing rail stations in need of repair are goals of the proposed program. In conjunction with NJDOT, NJ TRANSIT is committed to adding over 20,000 parking spaces over the next five years.

Financial Constraints
In assessing the proposed capital program, it is important to understand its constrained financial context. The central financial issue is that nearly 43 percent of anticipated resources are required to cover operating costs, to pay debt service on projects that have been previously financed, and to continue construction of new light rail projects. The trend of recent years to increase the amount of operating expenses paid for from the capital program will continue to limit the amount of capital resources that can be applied to actual capital projects, such as, among others, the replacement of 22 year old diesel locomotives and 15 year old transit buses.

The Future
The most significant challenge facing NJ TRANSIT is the provision of capacity to meet existing and anticipated ridership demands on the bus and rail systems. The opening of the Montclair Connection last September and the anticipated opening of the Secaucus Transfer this year will bring new riders, placing continued pressure on NJ TRANSIT to deliver a complex set of investments in parking, yards, stations, terminals, signals, rail cars and locomotives to meet the demands. Over time, given sustained funding, NJ TRANSIT's program will deliver significant added seating capacity through the addition of new Comet V rail cars and rebuilt Comet II cars, begin operation of new electric and diesel locomotives, and acquire 100 bi-level rail cars using $250 million provided by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. (Additional funds are being sought in order to purchase up to 131 additional bi-level cars.) As mentioned above, parking will be increased substantially. Over three-quarters of the 20,000 spaces that will be built in the next five years will add capacity on NJ TRANSIT's bus and rail systems. Planning and environmental work will continue on the Access to the Region's Core and on the third phase of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Transit System to Tenafly, as well as other major extensions, but no funds are currently available with which to construct these projects.

The Proposed Transportation Capital Program for Fiscal Year 2004 is recommended to be funded at a level of $2.580 billion. Of this amount, $1.306 billion is programmed for use by NJDOT (51%) and $1.274 billion by NJ TRANSIT (49%). The NJDOT amount also includes Local Aid for counties and municipalities.

The funding sources for this program are:

  • New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund, $1.162 billion
  • Federal Highway Administration, $766 million (including funds "flexed" to NJ TRANSIT)
  • Federal Transit Administration, $423 million
  • Other sources, $229 million

Sources of Funds Pie Chart

The funding levels which have been identified for Fiscal Year 2004 and projected for future years are clearly inadequate to meet the transportation needs of New Jersey in the first decade of the 21st century. With this in mind, the Governor, in his Executive Order Number 43, established a Blue Ribbon Transportation Commission "to examine and make recommendations on the pressing transportation issues facing New Jersey over the next ten years." The Commission will "identify the means necessary to address these pressing transportation issues and recommendations for their consideration during the upcoming renewal of the Transportation Trust Fund."

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  Last Updated: December 12, 2006
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