The United States Department of Transportation announced the award of a $5,660,000 grant to help fund the Herflicker Boulevard Loop in Downtown Toms River. The grant is made through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) Transportation Grants program and support road, rail, transit, and port infrastructure projects across the country.
The project will create a loop between the Garden State Parkway and waterfront business district by elevating and reconstructing Herflicker Boulevard as a one-way complete street, converting Water Street to a one-way complete street, and making roadway improvements and upgrades on connecting roadways.
“This project has been a priority for the Township for year, now we have full funding to complete these needed improvements,” stated Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher. “Toms River was the only community in New Jersey to receive a BUILD grant”.
By improving traffic circulation, reducing the number of turning movements at intersections, and adding pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, the project will improve traffic movement and reduce the number of accidents. The project upgrades the roadway and elevates Herflicker Boulevard to limit flooding and so it can be used as an evacuation route during flood events. The project also improves multi-modal connectivity to the Toms River waterfront district, which is planned for redevelopment, and increases transportation choice.
“BUILD transportation grants are major investments in road, rail, transit, and port projects that serve as a down payment on this administration’s commitment to America’s infrastructure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
Demand for BUILD grants far exceeded available funds, and the locally-driven nature of the applications was clear in their volume and geographic diversity. 851 eligible applications from all 50 states, as well as U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia were submitted, nearly double the applications received in 2017. Overall, applicants in 2018 requested more than $10.9 billion in funding. Rutala Associates, a Linwood, NJ planning firm, was retained by the Township earlier this year to purse funding for this and other major projects.
Project applications were evaluated by a team of 222 career staff in the USDOT and selected based on established criteria. The criteria included safety, economic competitiveness, quality of life, environmental protection, and state of good repair.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 appropriated $1.5 billion for BUILD Transportation grants. For this round of BUILD Transportation grants, the maximum grant award is $25 million for a single project, and no more than $150 million can be awarded to a single state.