NJ Transit's Wayne bus garage to receive $14.6M federal grant for renovation and repairs
Drone video of NJ Transit stations at Secaucus Junction and Hoboken Terminal on Thursday. Gov. Murphy announced NJ Transit train and light rail service will resume on July 6. NorthJersey.com
A $14.6 million federal grant will go toward modernizing and renovating NJ Transit's Wayne bus garage, according to an announcement from several lawmakers.
Updates to theWest Belt Parkway facility will include roof replacement and preparation for solar panels, upgraded HVAC, fire detection and suppression systems, new energy-efficient lighting, and upgrades so it can support a future electric bus fleet, according to the grant announcement from U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker and U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill.
This and other recent federal grant awards allow NJ Transit "to better align service with demand and enhance capacity on the routes with the heaviest ridership throughout Northern New Jersey," Kevin Corbett, CEO and president of the agency, said in a statement.
Of the agency's 16 bus garages, the ones in Wayne and Hamilton are the newest, built 22 years ago. By comparison, the oldest is Market Street in Paterson at 117. No major rehabilitation work has taken place at the garages since 1998, NJ Transit documents show.
When asked why the Wayne garage was chosen for this grant, NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder wrote in an email: "This garage is 22 years old; this grant addresses state-of-good repair projects for mechanical, fire suppression ... which are past their design life. This is a necessary first step for us to move toward electric and zero emission buses at this garage."
In his letter to the Federal Transit Administration earlier this year, Menendez wrote: "The decision to prioritize the Wayne Bus Garage was informed by its overall condition as noted in a 2018 facility assessment as well as its proximity to other garages which makes it a suitable property for solarization to support NJTRANSITGRID, a federally-funded distributed generation project."
Repairing, updating and replacing the agency's aging bus garages was cited as a priority in NJ Transit's 10-year strategic plan and unconstrained five-year capital plan. These investments are needed, in part, to help convert NJ Transit's diesel-operating fleet to be fully electric by 2040, an effort beginning next year with a pilot program of eight bus routes in Camden.
The agency received two federal grants in 2017 and 2018 totaling $2 million, plus $8 million from the Volkswagen emissions settlement, to kick-start its electric bus program with new buses, charging stations and employee training.
Meanwhile, nearly all of the $2.65 billion in proposed capital projects related to upgrading, replacing or adding new bus garages remains unfunded. Of the $86.5 million needed to maintain a state of good repair for bus infrastructure, $15.6 million was funded, according to the capital plan released in June.
Here is what the U.S. lawmakers who supported the grant application had to say in statements released Friday:
- Menendez: “The Wayne Bus Garage helps connect commuters to New York City, students to William Paterson and shoppers to Willowbrook, and plays a critical role in keeping our economy and our families moving forward."
- Booker: “Modernizing New Jersey’s transit systems through federal investment like this is critical to keeping our economy moving while improving the quality of life for commuters."
- Sherrill: "We fought for this DOT funding to not only make needed improvements to the garage, but with an eye toward the future as NJT transitions to electric vehicles.”
Colleen Wilson covers the Port Authority and NJ Transit for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to her work covering the region’s transportation systems and how they affect your commute, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.