Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tri-State: NJDOT to spend more on highways and less on bike/ped projects

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign blog, Mobilizing the Region is reporting of a progressive trend that sees a greater percentage of money being spent on new roadways and increased highway capacity, and less of fixing already broken roadways and on transit (check out their excellent and informative article here).

The percentage of NJDOT's capital program going to road capacity expansion has significantly increased in recent years.
Source - Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Included near the bottom of the Tri-State article is an overview of the loss of funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects in New Jersey compared to the year before.  This year's loss in State bike./ped funding comes on the heels of loosing State funds for bike/ped projects for many years.  At this past year's New Jersey Bike/Ped Summit, I was told by very high authority, that NJDOT once had as much as $8 million in "Bikeways" funding compared to this years $3 million (note - I'm going on memory about the first number so I CANNOT definitively back that numbers up).

Tri-State even gave a run-down of the bicycle projects that will receive State funding and those that will go without.  Most notable, is the lack of funding for the New Brunswick Bikeway which would connect the College Avenue and Cook/Douglas Campuses as well as the New Brunswick Train Station.  While this project is expensive (it would also repave every road the bikeway is on), it also has the potential to see an extreme amount of use being that it would have provided a bicycling option for tens of thousands of college students, as well as faculty, staff and the other local residents.  The project is also 20 years in the making (YES!  20 years!), so it is extremely frustrating to see it left unfunded by the State.  It is not clear how the lack of State funding will effect this project or the others.

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