Today, New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, and Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano brought some good news to NJ Transit bus riders. At a press conference in Hoboken, the group announced that NJ Transit had been awarded $76 million in federal funds for bus projects in the state. The aid will be welcome in a state whose capital program investments have shifted away from transit over the past several years.
While the bulk of the money will be used to upgrade NJ Transit’s bus fleet, $2.6 million of it will go towards the implementation of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system in the Route 55/42/676 corridor, running from Winslow Township through Gloucester and Camden, and into Philadelphia. Last month, the NJ Transit board approved the corridor plan, which was recommended through an alternatives analysis process that included significant public input. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the region’s metropolitan planning organization, has also added the project to its long-range plan.
The BRT funds should lead to significant service improvements for South Jersey transit riders, and they can’t come soon enough. The corridor is often clogged with traffic [pdf], and with fairly limited high speed transit options in the region, the investment should decrease congestion by providing commuters with greater transportation choice. Full implementation of the BRT system is expected to be completed by 2020.
Just as the project forges a new path in South Jersey transportation policy, it also helps move the state’s transit system into the 21st century—the line will only be New Jersey’s second enhanced bus service, and will likely be its most robust when complete. The first, Newark’s Go Bus, was so popular that, soon after its launch, NJ Transit had to double service to meet demand. Given this early success, NJ Transit is right to look for cost-effective ways to improve service.