NEW JERSEY – The Murphy Administration Thursday announced 10 grants totaling more than $29 million through the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s FY2021 Rail Freight Assistance Program.
The grants help support economic activity by preserving and improving the existing freight transportation system and by making freight rail service more widely available for businesses throughout the state. Rail freight improvements support the state’s clean energy, congestion mitigation, and sustainable development goals.
“The Murphy Administration’s targeted investments in New Jersey’s rail transportation network will strengthen our economy and ensure the safe and efficient movement of goods,” NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “The projects funded through the Rail Freight Assistance program provide critical upgrades to our transportation infrastructure.”
The 10 projects receiving funding are located in 11 counties and include upgrading and repairing existing railroad tracks with environmentally-friendly steel ties, installing new or upgraded switches, constructing a new drawbridge, and repairing or upgrading existing bridges and crossings. The $29 million in state grants will leverage an additional $23 million from railroad owners and operators, bringing the total investment of these 10 projects to more than $52 million.
The Murphy Administration has invested more than $104.1 million in New Jersey’s freight rail services, leveraging an additional $48.6 million from railroad owners and operators, for a total of more than $152.7 million in rail freight assistance program investment.
The Rail Freight Assistance Program, administered by the NJDOT Office of Grants Management, provides funding for capital improvements that result in the continuation of economically viable rail freight services in the state. Grant applications are evaluated on a cost/benefit basis. Factors considered in the selection of the projects include: economic benefits, efficient and responsive freight distribution, energy and environmental factors, and highway congestion mitigation. Sponsors – typically the owner of the railroad – also are required to continue freight service on the improved line for at least five years after completion of the project.
The New Jersey Rail Freight Assistance Program grants typically provide funding for between 70 and 90 percent of the estimated cost of each project while the sponsor is responsible for providing the remaining amount. Application proposals are accepted through SAGE, the State’s on-line System for Administering Grants Electronically.