(The Center Square) – New Jersey officials will update the State Freight Plan (SFP) over the next year, a move that could help the state access millions in federal dollars.
The plan was developed as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act enacted in 2015. It requires states to update their freight plans every five years, and New Jersey officials plan to build off the state’s 2017 freight plan for the 2022 update.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) gave New Jersey roughly $900,000 through its State Planning and Research program to fund the plan’s development. Updating the plan gives New Jersey access to funding from the National Highway Freight Program and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) recently signed into law by President Joe Biden.
“The 2022 SFP will include multimodal freight planning, infrastructure improvements, rail and marine highway planning, support state and regional policy goals, and support planning partners and freight industry stakeholders serving New Jersey and the NJDOT,” Jim Barry, director of communications for the NJ Department of Transportation (NJDOT), told The Center Square.
A news release from Gov. Phil Murphy said the state would “make the movement of goods to and from the ports a key focal point” as part of the 2022 revision.
“We are fortunate that New Jersey is not experiencing the same supply chain problems that are putting a choke hold on the flow of goods and services in other states,” state Sen. Joe Cryan, D-Union, said in a news release last week. “It’s not blind luck – we have dug in and done the work needed to maintain and upgrade the state’s infrastructure.”
According to the state’s Department of Transportation, New Jersey has roughly 1,000 miles of freight rail lines. The state must submit its updated freight rail plan to the FHWA by December 2022.
Additionally, the NJDOT’s Rail Freight Assistance Program, funded through the state Transportation Trust Fund, provides millions of dollars annually to improve freight rail statewide. Earlier this year, NJDOT handed out $29 million in grants for 10 rail projects across the Garden State.
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