BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Governor Phil Murphy announced Tuesday that 96 percent of New Jersey municipalities will receive Municipal Aid grant awards, totaling $161.25 million for fiscal year 2020, of which Berkeley Heights will be awarded $360,000. These are the first awards being made under the new Municipal Aid grant cycle that better aligns with the state’s construction season and municipal budget cycles.
A total of 542 cities and towns across the state are receiving grants to advance road, bridge, safety, and quality-of-life improvements, continuing the Department of Transportation’s Commitment to Communities initiative, according to press release issued by NJDOT.
Berkeley Heights will use the money for roadway improvements on Ferndale Drive, Hastings Road, and Greenbriar Drive, which are all interconnecting streets between Briarwood Drive West. Improvements will include installation of handicap accessible ramps and crosswalks compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as new bicycle safe grates, and Type N inlet head to comply with New Jersey Stormwater regulations and improve safety of the cyclists using the street.
This funding, along with the $460,000 grant award to the Township received from the NJDOT Municipal Aid program for FY 2019 earlier this year, will help complete the road reconstruction and drainage efforts in the Woodruff school area.
“It will be a huge benefit to our residents when we complete the drainage and road reconstruction in this part of town,” said Mayor Angie Devanney. “These grant awards, along with money we included in our fiscal year 2019 capital budget, are helping us tackle much-needed road projects.”
The $460,000 grant award is helping to fund road improvements on Briarwood East/West, Fay Place and Ridgewood Place. Concrete work for curbing, ramps, depressed curbs for driveways and other work is set to begin on that project next week, the week of December 2.
In addition to these road projects, concrete work has been completed in the Mountain Park area, on the streets of Rutgers Avenue (from Hamilton Avenue to Mountain) Avenue, Hamilton Avenue (Park Avenue to Princeton Avenue), and Princeton Avenue (from Park Avenue to just past Hamilton Avenue). Milling and paving is set to begin December 9, as long as the weather cooperates.
There were 545 awards to 542 municipalities. Click here to see list of FY20 grants.
Under the Municipal Aid grant program, each county is apportioned a share of the total funding based on population and the number of local centerline miles. Municipalities compete for portions of their county’s share. NJDOT provides 75 percent of the grant amount when a town awards a contract and the remaining 25 percent upon completion of the project. Of the $161.25 million, there is $10 million allotted for municipalities qualifying for urban aid under state law, with the amounts determined by the Department of Community Affairs.
In past years, applications were due to NJDOT by October. By accelerating the process, applications for Municipal Aid grants this year were submitted to the Department by July 2019. They were judiciously reviewed this summer so the announcement could be made by November 30, according to the release.
There are seven project categories within the Municipal Aid program eligible for funding: roadway preservation, roadway safety, quality of life, mobility, bikeway, pedestrian safety, and bridge preservation. Past performance in connection with timely award of projects and construction close-out factor were part of the evaluation of the proposals. When evaluating applications, NJDOT also verifies if the municipality has adopted Complete Streets policies. Complete Streets policies, establishes guidelines that require consideration be given to pedestrians and bicyclists when local transportation projects are being planned, designed, and built.