Newark - U.S. Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded New Jersey Transit more than $10 million in federal funds for transportation upgrades in Ridgewood. The funds will be used to make improvements at the Ridgewood Intermodal Station and to purchase a new bus for Valley Hospital.

"With record number of passengers traveling by train, we must continue to upgrade our stations so all travelers have easy access to the train and are able to get to destinations safely, comfortably and on time," Sen. Lautenberg said. "These funds go a long way in the effort to modernize our public transit systems, giving commuters options, helping keep cars off the road and reducing our reliance on oil."

"These timely transportation improvements will help encourage area residents to use mass transit, which aids in the conservation of energy and protects their pocketbooks in these tough economic times," said Sen. Menendez. "I am pleased that a substantial amount of this funding will be used to enhance the lives of disabled New Jerseyans - vital members of our society who deserve easy access to various transportation options."

NJ Transit will use $74,250 in funds to purchase a 13-passenger bus for Valley Hospital patients. The bus will be lift equipped and handicap accessible. NJ Transit will also receive two separate grants totaling 10,376,232 as part of the major upgrades project at Ridgewood Station. Improvements to the station include:

• Upgrading and raising passenger platforms to meet disability access standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act;
• Installing two elevators to provide access to the inbound and center platforms;
• Widening the center platform, including relocation of train tracks;
• Installing new lamp posts, benches, PA speakers, cameras and station signs on the platforms and station canopies; and
• Modifying the station's interior by widening doorways and making the bathrooms wheelchair accessible.

Sens. Lautenberg and Menendez have long supported funding for New Jersey to improve its public transportation systems. Last month, the New Jersey Senators announced more than $2.9 million for the purchases of new buses in Burlington County, Lakewood and Atlantic City. Earlier this year, they announced three separate grants totaling more than $5.2 million for improvements at Newark Penn, Metropark and Morristown Stations.

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