Trenton – Legislation sponsored by the Senate Economic Growth Committee Chair Nilsa Cruz-Perez, which would establish the “New Jersey Transit Villages Act,” cleared the Senate Economic Growth Committee.
“As the population continues to rise in the State, roadways have become unbearably congested, making people increasingly frustrated with the longer commute times,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “By establishing these plans for transit villages, we will see significant increases in rider-ships on transit systems and more connected communities. Not only would this make New Jersey greener and less congested, but overall quality of life would improve as well. People would spend less time on their commute and spend that extra time with their families.”
The bill, S-2483, would permit a municipal planning board to adopt a transit village plan as an amendment and supplement to its master plan. The Office of Smart Growth, in consultation with the Commissioner of Transportation and the Executive Director of the New Jersey Transit, would review the proposed transit village plan element and determine whether it is consistent with the State Development and Redevelopment Plan.
A transit village would be designated by the commissioner and be defined as a compact, mixed-use, walkable community, centered on a mass transit hub, access point that is regularly served by a mass transit service or where there is a defined future potential that will support a transit service. By design, it would help to increase transit ridership and reduce reliance on single-occupant vehicular transportation.
Under the bill, the commissioner, in consultation with the Office of Smart Growth, would establish rules and regulations for a transit village grant funding program. These rules would include but would not be limited to:
§ the standard that a municipality must meet, in order for the Office of Smart Growth to determine that a transit village master plan element is consistent with the State Development and Redevelopment Plan;
§ transit village design guidelines developed by NJ Transit; and
§ incentives and benefits associated with being designated as a transit village including, but not limited to, planning and capital funding, funding for transit planning, funding for station improvement, and prioritization for such funding.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0.