Passaic County Freeholder John Bartlett was elected First Vice-Chair of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) at the Jan. 13 Board of Trustees meeting.
“I want to thank my fellow Board members for again entrusting me with a leadership position,” said Freeholder Bartlett, who first joined the Executive Committee when he was elected Second Vice-Chair in 2018. “This Board oversees vital transportation investments that, at their best, grow our region’s economy and improve the quality of life for all residents.”
At the same meeting, the NJTPA Board approved an allocation of $17.5 million for construction of a new Fifth Avenue Bridge across the Passaic River, connecting Paterson to Fair Lawn.
The NJTPA oversees regional transportation planning and annually authorizes more than $1 billion in federal surface transportation funding for 13 counties in northern and central New Jersey.
Freeholder Bartlett was elected in 2012 and joined the NJTPA Board of Trustees in 2013. Transportation initiatives in Passaic County that have advanced during his tenure on the Board include:
- A $310 million transformation of the Route 46/Route 3 interchange in Clifton and Little Falls, led by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. The first phase of the project, including the Clove Road overpass and new county roads that improve access to the highway, opened last year.
- In addition to funding for the Fifth Avenue Bridge, the NJTPA has approved federal funds for several other bridge projects including: The Two Bridges Road project in Wayne, the recently completed 8th Street Bridge connecting Passaic and Wallington, and design support for a new bridge to connect Paterson’s Bunker Hill industrial area to Prospect Park and Hawthorne.
- The Main Avenue Local Concept Development Study in the City of Passaic, which is currently exploring ways to improve safety and support local businesses in conjunction with future investments in bus transit and the streetscape.
- Numerous smaller projects, including an award-winning transit study to improve access to and through the Great Falls district of Paterson, acquisition and improvements along the Morris Canal Greenway, and new bicycle and pedestrian paths that will connect Wayne, Wanaque, and Ringwood.
- Pedestrian safety education efforts, including NJTPA’s publication of the first Gujarati-language Street Smart NJ educational materials for communities in Passaic, Parsippany, Jersey City, and Edison.
At Freeholder Bartlett’s urging, NJTPA has also allocated $3.4 million in federal funds to design the “missing moves” project, linking Route 23 and Route 80 in Wayne this year, with construction anticipated soon afterwards. This project will provide greater mobility, reduce congestion and enhance safety by simplifying movement through the interchange. Altogether, more than $348 million in federal transportation dollars have been dedicated to Passaic County projects since 2013.
“Because of the large size and long-time horizon of infrastructure improvements, federal funding is essential,” Freeholder Bartlett explained. “With support from our partners in Washington like Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., and Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, the resources and technical support that flow to Passaic County through NJTPA help us do more for residents and local business owners without increasing the property tax burden.”
In addition to serving a two-year term as Second Vice-Chair from 2018-2020, Freeholder Bartlett was also Chair of the NJTPA’s Planning and Economic Development Committee and served as a member of the Project Prioritization Committee. He is a past Vice Chair of the NJTPA’s Freight Initiatives Committee.
The NJTPA Executive Committee provides guidance and leadership to the full Board on a wide range of planning, policy and administrative issues. It meets as needed to review financial, personnel and policy matters. Board membership is an uncompensated position. In addition to Freeholder Bartlett, the elected members of the NJTPA Executive Committee are: Morris County Freeholder Kathryn A. DeFillippo, Chair; Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, Second Vice-Chair; and Warren County Freeholder Jason Sarnoski, Secretary. In accordance with the bylaws, Chairwoman DeFillippo appointed Middlesex County Freeholder Charles Kenny to the position of Third Vice-Chair.
The NJTPA is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for 13 northern New Jersey counties. Under federal legislation, MPOs provide a forum where local officials, public transportation providers and state agency representatives can come together and cooperatively plan to meet the region’s current and future transportation needs. It establishes the region’s eligibility to receive federal tax dollars for transportation projects.
The NJTPA Board consists of one local elected official from each of the 13 counties in the region (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren), and the cities of Newark and Jersey City. The Board also includes a Governor’s Representative, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Executive Director of NJ TRANSIT, the Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a Citizen’s Representative appointed by the Governor.