Washington - In the wake of NJ Transit's announcement of fare increases and service cuts on Friday, U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank Lautenberg this morning announced the details of $52.4 million for NJ Transit from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The investment, which could create an estimated 4,000 jobs, is intended to create employment, help upgrade the system and relieve budget strains by funding the following projects:

• $36.2 million to support construction of the new Pennsauken Transit Center
• $15.3 million to improve exterior pedestrian and traffic circulation at Newark Penn Station
• $35 million for maintenance of up to 2,148 NJ Transit buses (this will draw more than $34 million from a reallocation of previously-committed bus funding, meaning that the actual net new funding is $890,000)

"This is a prime example of the Recovery Act at work, putting people to work and helping them get to their jobs. Hopefully these funds will provide the state with budget relief that eventually will be passed on to public transportation riders," said Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development. "On the heels of NJ Transit's thoroughly disappointing fare hike and service cut announcement, this can help ease the state's budget burden while creating jobs necessary to upgrade the public transportation system. When complete, these improvements will allow more New Jerseyans to save time and money by relying on public transportation. This investment helps advance three goals of the Recovery Act - jobs, long term economic security and state budget relief."

"This new federal Recovery Act funding will create jobs and improve mass transportation for thousands of commuters across New Jersey," said Sen. Lautenberg, who as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee helped write the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. "Modernizing our transportation infrastructure will ensure we have safe, reliable and efficient transportation options that attract new riders and reduce congestion on our roads. Together, these investments will jumpstart our economy and help us continue to build a 21st century transportation system."

Based on federal job-creation estimate models, this funding will create more than 360 jobs; however, these models are known by economists to be particularly conservative. In fact, based on a job creation model by Transportation for America and the Economic Policy Institute, this level of funding could create 4,000 jobs.

Background on projects:

Pennsauken Transit Center

This funding supports the construction of a new intermodal station and parking facility in Pennsauken, NJ that will allow passengers from NJ TRANSIT's River LINE light rail service to transfer to NJ TRANSIT's Atlantic City Line commuter rail service as well as local bus service. The scope includes construction of an approximately 280 space surface parking facility; a single low-level River LINE light rail platform; two high-level platforms on the Atlantic City Line; stairs and two elevators that will allow access to the Atlantic City Line platforms; and a bus boarding area.

Newark Penn Station

This funding supports exterior pedestrian and traffic circulation improvements on the west side of Newark Penn Station. The scope includes construction of a mid-block roundabout and two-way traffic operation on Raymond Plaza West, and the realignment of Alling Street with Raymond Plaza West. Roadway improvements include crosswalks, traffic-calming speed tables, in-crosswalk warning lights, and increased drop-off and pick-up spaces with textured pavement. Pedestrian improvements include benches, way-finding signs, tree grates, pedestrian lighting, street, tree, and building uplighting, and plantings. The project scope also involves upgrading traffic signals and roadway lighting, a taxi queuing area, an intercity bus loading area and other related improvements.

Bus maintenance

This funding supports the rehabilitation of NJ TRANSIT's bus fleet. The scope includes replacement of the various bus components such as engines, transmissions, pumps, motors, differentials, turbos, compressors and generators. Rehabilitation also includes major body work, structural repairs, rebuilding fare collection, radio and communication equipment, and bus repainting, as needed. There are potentially 2,148 buses involved in this project.