Now that we’re into fall, I thought I would provide an update on our many Local Aid grant programs.
There are three programs that are open – the Local Freight Impact Fund, the federally-funded Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside Program, and the state-funded Local Bridges Fund.
Competitive Grant Programs
The Local Freight Impact Fund is a competitive grant program that provides aid to counties and municipalities for transportation projects that address the impacts of freight travel in local communities and on local transportation infrastructure. Available funding for the Fiscal Year 2021 program is $30.1 million.
Local Freight Impact Fund projects submitted for consideration must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Be within the jurisdiction of the applicant’s municipality and/or county unless filed jointly with an adjacent municipality and/or county
- Provide access to a port, warehouse distribution center, or any other freight mode
- Have a minimum of 10% large truck volume within the project limits
Applications for the Local Freight Impact Fund are due by November 10, 2020.
The Transportation Alternatives (TA) Set-Aside program provides $9.75 million in federal funds for community based “non-traditional” surface transportation related projects designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of the nation’s surface transportation intermodal system.
Eligible projects must fall within one of the following seven categories:
- Design and construction of on-road and off-road trail facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized forms of transportation
- Conversion and use of abandoned railroad corridors for trails for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized transportation users
- Construction of scenic turnouts, overlooks, and viewing areas
- Historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities both land and water, such as buildings, structures, and canals
- Community improvement activities, specifically streetscaping and corridor landscaping
- Environmental mitigation to address stormwater management, control, and water pollution prevention or abatement related to highway construction or due to highway runoff
- Reduce vehicle-caused wildlife mortality or to restore and maintain connectivity among terrestrial or aquatic habitats
In addition to the traditional grant criteria, consideration will be given to applications that provide additional benefits to underserved members of our communities, including low-income residents, minorities, those with limited English proficiency, persons with disabilities, children and older adults. Census data for these categories will be used to determine if a project meets the equity criteria. Additional information on this grant opportunity can be found at: https://www.njdotlocalaidrc.com/federally-funded-programs/transportation-alternatives
In our continued effort to provide as much assistance as possible to Local Public Agencies (LPAs), our team of experts have provided a series of training webinars for potential TA Set-Aside applicants. Additionally, NJDOT will continue to offer the TA Set-Aside Design Assistance Program, which is meant to provide consultant engineering services at no cost to the recipients to assist grant awardees with the development of plans, specifications, and estimates for their TA Set-Aside project. https://www.saferoutesnj.org/transportationalternatives-set-aside-program/
Applications for the TA Set-Aside program are due by November 24, 2020.
Non-Competitive Grant Programs
The $47.3 million Local Bridges Fund Program provides funds to each county to help keep local bridges in a state of good repair. Structures listed as structurally deficient, functionally obsolete or scour critical are eligible for funding under this program. The Division of Local Aid and the Division of Bridge Engineering and Infrastructure Management jointly administer the program. Due to the complexity in designing and permitting bridges, the time frame to award these bridge grants has increased from 24 months to 36 months from the date of notification.
Funds for this program are distributed based on a minimum of $1 million per County ($21 million) with 50 percent of the remaining funds ($13.15 million) allocated based on each County’s percentage of total major bridge deck area and 50 percent ($13.15 million) based on each County’s percentage of structurally deficient major bridge deck area. (See pie chart)
Each county must submit their projects for the Local Bridges Fund for approval by November 6, 2020.
The FY21 County Aid allotments totaling $161.25 million were announced in July, and each county must submit their transportation plan to NJDOT’s Division of Local Aid through SAGE by December 1.
Videos explaining changes to the Standard Specifications have been uploaded to the Local Aid Resource Center website to help municipalities and counties understand the impact of the changes.
The FY21 solicitation for Municipal Aid, Bikeways, Safe Streets to Transit, and Transit Village grants closed this summer and the Department is in the process of reviewing 754 applications. The $161.25 million in statefunded Municipal Aid awards will be made by the end of November. Awards for Bikeways, Safe Streets to Transit, and Transit Village, will be announced in early 2021.
For more information on these and other Local Aid programs, visit the Local Aid Resource Center at https://njdotlocalaidrc.com/.