NEWARK – The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) Board of Trustees unanimously approved $800,000 on Monday to retrofit off-road construction equipment such as bulldozers, graders and pavers with pollution control devices that will reduce diesel emissions.
The funding will support Phase 1 of New Jersey’s Clean Construction Program, which will allocate a total of $2.5 million to retrofit 175 pieces of equipment being used for state-financed projects in urban environments. In April, Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order establishing the program to improve air quality in densely populated urban areas, where residents are disproportionately exposed to emissions from construction sites.
“This is an important public health measure that will help protect residents from the heavy diesel exhaust produced by construction vehicles and equipment,” said NJTPA Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan, also a Union County Freeholder. “People who live and work in northern and central New Jersey’s urban communities will breathe cleaner air when there are road projects in their neighborhoods thanks to this program.”
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has committed the remaining $1.7 million toward the program. The NJTPA’s contribution will come through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program, which funds projects that reduce congestion and emissions from fossil fuels.
The NJTPA is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for 13 northern New Jersey counties, including Union and Middlesex. 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.
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