NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The city will receive $518,464 in aid from the state earmarked for capital improvement work on Joyce Kilmer Avenue.

The money is part of the $161.25 million in Municipal Aid grant awards being sent to municipalities across the state, according to a statement from Gov. Phil Murphy's office released earlier this week.

Murphy announced that these first awards are being made under the new Municipal Aid grant cycle that better aligns with the state’s construction season and municipal budget cycles.

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“Our administration sought to deliver a fairer approach to how government does business and this round of grants will, in the third straight year, reach more municipalities than in the previous fiscal year,” said Murphy. “In addition, in the spring the Department of Transportation announced it was accelerating the Fiscal Year 2020 Municipal Aid grant cycle so we could make the awards months earlier than in years past to help municipalities better plan important infrastructure projects. Today, by awarding grants to 542 municipalities in the state, nearly 96% of all cities and towns in New Jersey will be poised to break ground as the construction season begins.”

The vast majority of towns and cities operate on a fiscal year running from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. Knowing the amount of Municipal Aid before the fiscal year begins helps municipalities better determine which projects will move forward that year.

Roadway improvements to Joyce Kilmer Avenue were already attached to the 2019 municipal budget. In May, City Administrator Daniel Torrisi listed several roads and public works projects listed in the budget.

Torrisi, reading from a prepared statement at the May 15 City Council meeting, said that roadway improvements to Joyce Kilmer Avenue, Georges Road and the intersection of Easton Avenue, French Street and Spring Street are accounted for in the budget.

The Murphy administration said the competitive Municipal Aid grant program attracted 661 applications from 546 different municipalities in FY20 with a total of $368 million in work. Project applications are evaluated and rated on their merits by NJDOT Local Aid staff and an independent panel of New Jersey municipal engineers review the Local Aid recommendations. This process resulted in 545 awards to 542 municipalities. To see the list of FY20 grants, click here.

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% of the grant amount when a town awards a contract and the remaining 25% 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 Nov. 30. 

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