Lettiere Celebrates Earth Day, Increases
Highway Beautification Program By $500,000
(Trenton) - Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere celebrated Earth Day today in Cherry Hill where he planted trees with State and local officials on Route 70 and announced a 50% increase in funding for DOT's Good Neighbor program.
In keeping with Governor James McGreevey's promise to plant 100,000 trees over the next 3 years, the Commissioner increased funding for the program to $1 million to $1.5 million. Through the Good Neighbor program, citizens, local officials and organizations can obtain funds to pay for plants, shrubs and trees along New Jersey's highways.
"Governor McGreevey has shown an unprecedented commitment to making New Jersey a better place for working families, from reducing sprawl and congestion to preserving open spaces," said Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere. "At the DOT we share that commitment. Last year we spent $1 million on shrubs, plants and trees through the Good Neighbor program and we planted another 13,000 trees in order to keep New Jersey green. These new funds will help us ensure that New Jersey remains the 'Garden State.'
Lettiere visited Cherry Hill to thank Mayor Bernie Platt and members of Cherry Hill's Adopt-A-Highway committee for their work in maintaining a 6.5-mile stretch of Route 70 for the past 10 years. Volunteers have collected litter and planted 18 flower beds between Lexington and Old Orchard avenues. The Commissioner presented Mayor Platt with weeping cherry trees, rhododendron shrubs and evergreen shrubs.
"Our community benefits greatly from the Good Neighbor program," said Mayor Platt. "It's a welcome complement to our Adopt-A-Highway program. Cherry Hill's focus on the environment also extends beyond our highways to preserving open space and protecting our natural resources. Today on earth day we reaffirm our pledge to the environment."
The Good Neighbor program seeks to provide quick assistance to communities seeking to beautify areas adjacent to state highways. In 2002, the program helped with 78,000 plantings, including 3,384 trees, 74,915 shrubs, vines and perennials throughout 37 communities. The increase in funds will allow for more than 117,000 plants this year, including 5,000 trees.
In addition, in 2002, DOT planted 13,645 trees in keeping with a policy that calls for two new trees to replace every one removed during the course of a project.