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State Freight Plan Update Will Address Policy, Prioritize Investments

A new Statewide Freight Plan would identify and inventory bottlenecks, develop freight strategies, policies and performance measures, and create an investment plan to support the Garden State’s multimodal freight operations.

MicrosoftTeams-image461667d3d47ff1d1667343aff242d5ef87aad0e1a790ed9f2a1ed7c7eca09594.pngThe New Jersey Statewide Freight Plan was last updated in 2017. Since then, the state has seen an expansion of e-commerce, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing focus on equity and quality of life, as well as the availability of higher quality data, according to Genevieve Clifton, manager, maritime resources, freight planning and grants management for the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). Despite challenges, the state’s freight industry is generally thriving, she added, during a presentation to the NJTPA’s Freight Initiatives Committee on Monday.

MicrosoftTeams-imagec465470d484906c52bdf6a6003a82b14256736fd7cd7d1632cd8b72251651f7d.pngThe NJTPA has been proactive with subregional studies focused on freight, said Stephen Chiaramonte, supervising transportation planner and assistant vice president at WSP, a consultant working on the state’s freight plan update. Hudson County is conducting a truck routes assessment and Middlesex County a freight movement study; Union County recently wrapped up its Truck Mobility Study; and Monmouth County completed a freight study in 2019 all funded through the NJTPA. Chiaramonte said these studies “show a significant level of investment and interest in freight planning in the region.”

Chiaramonte, Clifton and others working on the plan provided an overview of the 2022 update, requirements that changed since the 2017 plan, and sought input from committee members and freight stakeholders in attendance. Key new freight plan requirements include assessing truck parking facilities and examining impacts of e-commerce on freight infrastructure.

The 2022 Statewide Freight Plan is due to be approved by the Federal Highway Administration by the end of the year, Chiaramonte said.

New Jersey was the first state DOT to complete a comprehensive look at multimodal freight in 2007, Chiaramonte said, but it was not a federal requirement until 2015 when the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act mandated freight plans every five years. That mandate was reduced to every four years under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which was adopted last year.

The updated Statewide Freight Plan will assist NJDOT in prioritizing freight investments across the state. The plan is tied to National Highway Freight Program (NHFP) funding and a recognition of the need to understand how, where and what goods move on the state’s multimodal freight network, providing an inventory of existing conditions and identifying needs and challenges. NHFP funding totaled some $420 million in New Jersey alone, which was leveraged for “big ticket and big visibility” projects, like the I-295 Missing Moves project and the I-80 Riverview Drive project, Chiaramonte said.

Click here to view the presentation and meeting recording.
Posted: 8/18/2022 1:15:06 PM by Mark Hrywna | with 0 comments