TRENTON-The underlying message in the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s $3.2-billion FY 2007 capital program unveiled yesterday is that the state wants to get people out of their cars and onto NJ Transit’s trains and buses. The far-reaching program calls for major improvements to the state’s transit system and the existing highway infrastructure, but only minor increases in New Jersey’s highway capacity. Indeed, as transportation commissioner Kris Kolluri pointed out yesterday, only about 3% of the budget will go to create new highway lanes.

“Through this program, we will strengthen the transportation network that is critical to our long-term economic viability and our quality of life,” said Gov. Jon Corzine, who with Kolluri unveiled the program. “It’s also a real statement on our commitment to mass transit. We’re always looking to make sure we improve the system we have.”

Pending legislative approval, a total of $1.3 billion is slated for NJ Transit projects, including 15 rail station improvement projects, hundreds of new rail cars and “convenient new services for commuters,” according to Corzine. And rather than adding road capacity, the $1.9 billion going to NJ DOT projects are part of what state officials call that agency’s “congestion relief plan.” Among the projects are a total of 125 bottleneck relief projects relating to roadway planning and design. Approximately $150 million is going to resurfacing projects, and the plan also calls for creating more than 4,500 parking spaces for commuters.

The program, pending legislative approval, will be funded 50-50 with state and federal money. The state’s share of $1.6 billion is an increase of FY 2006′s $1.2 billion in capital spending for transportation.

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