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Issue: 19                                     Government Services                        December 2015

 


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Welcome to Cross County Connection's Newsletter for Municipal and County Leaders! These newsletters provide updates on recent transportation-related projects and accomplishments, regional transportation news, and major construction activity in southern New Jersey. Feel free to share with your staff, residents and local businesses. We hope you enjoy!

 

 

Register Online: Complete Streets Implementation Workshop for South Jersey Municipalities and Counties - Hosted by Cross County Connection TMA

Date: January 20, 2016

Time: 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Cost: FREE

Location: Rowan College at Gloucester County (formerly Gloucester County Community College)

1400 Tanyard Road, Sewell, NJ 08080

The event will take place in the Instructional Center - Room 430

 

Click here to register online for the Complete Streets Implementation Workshop. Details about the workshop can be found on our website,  www.driveless.com

 

 

The FAST Act: The Nation's New Five Year Transportation Law

The FAST Act: The Nation's New Five Year Transportation Law

For the first time in a decade, federal transportation funding has some long term certainty.  On December 4th, 2015, President Obama signed Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act into law. The FAST Act authorizes approximately $305 billion over the next five years to fund the nation's surface transportation systems. The bill was signed into law just a few hours before federal transportation spending was set to expire under the latest extension of MAP-21. This avoided the need to provide another emergency extension, which would have been the 35th short-term funding extension over the last six years.

 

The FAST Act finally creates funding certainty for states and local governments that will allow them to progress on prioritizing and constructing long-term transportation projects. The last long term legislation, extending beyond two years, was SAFETEA-LU in 2005. Estimates vary,  but the FAST Act reportedly authorizes approximately $233 billion for highways, $49 billion for transit, and $10 billion dedicated to intercity passenger rail, with the remainder going towards safety programs.

 

Some highlights of the FAST ACT in general, and those provisions that will have an impact on Cross County Connection's work with local governments in South Jersey, are highlighted below.

Biking and Walking

  • Overall, the FAST ACT increases funding for biking and walking from the current  $820 million, to $835 million for 2016 and 2017, and $850 million for 2018, 2019 and 2020.
  • Non-profits, such as TMAs, are once again eligible to apply for funding directly. Non-profits were barred from directly applying for funding under MAP-21, making it more difficult to administer successful education and encouragement programs such as Safe Routes to School.
  • States may allow local governments to use a federally approved street design publication, different than one used by the state DOT, on projects under local control. This includes recent federally accepted guides such as NACTO's Urban Bikeways Design Guide and FHWA's Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide, which has been gaining in popularity with local communities over the last few years.
  • The FAST Act creates a high priority safety fund to support the development of bicyclist, pedestrian, and motorist safety education and enforcement programs in states where 15% or more of road fatalities are bicyclists and pedestrians. NJDOT estimates that 31% of the state's road deaths in 2014 were pedestrians.  

Public Transit and Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

  • Overall public transit funding levels will increase 17% compared to MAP-21.
  • The FAST ACT maintains the High Density States Program. This program sets aside $1.6 billion in transit funding for the seven highest density states within the Boston to Washington corridor. An earlier version of the bill that passed the House contained a provision redistributing this money into the competitive Bus Grant Program, causing NJ TRANSIT to lose an estimated $50 million. This provision was removed from the final version of the bill that reached the President's desk.
  • Transit Oriented Development now qualifies for funding through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA). Additionally, the project costs threshold to qualify for financing has been lowered from $50 million to $10 million, expanding the range of eligible projects. TIFIA leverages private co-investment to provide local governments with financing, at terms more favorable than traditional financial markets, to construct large scale infrastructure projects. However, that total allocation for TIFIA has been reduced substantially under the FAST ACT, from $1 billion down to $275 million.

Safety and Enforcement

  • Like MAP-21, the FAST Act does not allow federal funding to be spent on automated traffic enforcement systems, such as red light cameras. The legislation does require states using these systems to provide biennial reports on their safety impacts. Policy analyst point out that this further discourages the adoption of these technologies, because it provides no funding to implement them and then imposes an unfunded obligation to study their impacts.

The FAST Act is a 1,300 page document that will take some time to fully comprehend. Analysis and opinions will be pouring in as the weeks go by. Stay tuned for more details on provisions that may impact alternative transportation and South Jersey's regional transportation network.

 

 

Grove Street Bike Lanes Installed

Grove Street Bike Path, Haddonfield

New bicycle lanes just popped up on Grove Street in Haddonfield between Hopkins Avenue and South Edge Park Drive. These bicycle lanes were added in a revised draft of a larger plan for traffic calming, street beautification, and sewer/water line reconstruction along Grove Street. The plans were revised based on resident input. The project is a joint effort between the Borough of Haddonfield, Camden County, and the Federal Government. Haddonfield paid the cost of engineering (about $200,000) and sewer/water line reconstruction (dependent on final scope), the County paid the cost of project management, and the Federal Government covered almost all road and drainage construction costs (about $2 million). The lanes improve bicycle access between Historic Downtown Haddonfield and Camden County's largest park network along the Cooper River, which includes the Cooper River Trail. The Cooper River Trail is part of the Circuit, a 750 mile network of bicycle and pedestrian trails that extends throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region. 

 

 

Sustainable Jersey: New Funding Available for Schools and Municipalities 

Sustainable Jersey has announced that the PSEG Foundation is contributing a total of $300,000 to support Small Grants Program cycles for schools and municipalities. 

 

The Sustainable Jersey for Schools cycle will award four $10,000 grants to school districts or schools and thirty capacity building grants to support school green teams. The application deadline is Sunday, January 24, 2016. Click here for more information. 

 

The Sustainable Jersey Municipal cycle will award four $20,000 grants, eight $10,000 grants and twenty $2,000 grants to municipalities. The application deadline is Sunday, February 7, 2016. Click here for more information 

 

 

Upcoming Webinars (Free!)

Countermeasure Strategies for Pedestrian Safety 
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and
Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC)
October 2015- January 2016

Sustainable Jersey Municipal Webinar 
Sustainable Jersey 
Wednesday, December 16, 2016
1:00pm-2:00pm

Cross County Connection TMA

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

9:00am-2:00pm

 

 

South Jersey News Flash

Philadelphia Magazine | December 10, 2015

 

Press of Atlantic City | December 7, 2015

 

Burlington Free Press | December 5, 2015

 

NJ.com | December 3, 2015

 

Courier Post | December 1, 2015

 

How Much Can Bicycling Help Fight Climate Change? A Lot, If Cities Try

StreetsBlog USA | November 18, 2018

 

Courier Post | November 18, 2015

 

New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition | November 18, 2015

 

 

Cross County Connection's Mission: To improve the quality of life in southern New Jersey through transportation solutions.

 

About Us: Cross County Connection, a nonprofit organization, partners with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), NJ TRANSIT, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO), member organizations and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, to provide solutions to complex transportation problems for counties, municipalities and employers in the southern New Jersey region encompassing Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties. 

 

This Cross County Connection Transportation Management Association publication is funded by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. The U.S. Government and NJTPA assume no liability for the contents.