On Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Transit Village grants totaling $1 million to help five municipalities advance such projects, intended to improve the quality of life without burdening local property tax payers.
The Transit Village Program seeks to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by increasing transit ridership. Studies have shown that adding residential housing options within walking distance of a transit facility, typically a one-half mile radius, increases transit ridership more than any other type of development.
The following five municipalities received money through the designation: Bloomfield in Essex County for $230,000; Morristown in Morris County for $200,000; Somerville in Somerset County for $130,000; Hackensack in Bergen County for $370,000; and West Windsor in Mercer County for $70,000.
Under the multi-agency smart growth initiative, municipalities that have transit facilities within their borders can seek to be designated as a Transit Village by developing plans for dense, mixed-use redevelopment that includes housing near their transit facility.
Each municipality with a Transit Village designation may submit one application for funding. Applications must be for projects located within one-half mile of the transit facility and the projects are awarded on a competitive basis taking into consideration proximity to a transit facility, walkability, bicycling, project need and an applicant’s past performance using other local aid funds.
Today, there are 33 municipalities in the transit village program. Among the benefits of the transit village designation are priority funding and technical assistance from some state agencies, and enhanced eligibility for grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
“Public transportation is an asset to our commuting public within a state as densely populated as New Jersey,” New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said in a prepared statement.