Study to make the buses run faster
A public hearing was held in Bayonne City Hall to outline a year-long study designed to improve bus transportation between Bayonne and Journal Square. The study will require public input, suggestions and comments in order to possibly design a Bus Rapid Transit System, which is a flexible bus transit system that can incorporate a number of elements such as pre-boarding fare payment, similar to a system used by the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system. For more information or to make comments, email feedback@BayonneJerseyCityBRT.com, or go to www.bayonnejerseycitybrt.com.
Best Foods redevelopment gets UEZ loan
The Bayonne City Council has voted to loan $2.5 million to Cameron Avenue A Urban Renewal for the potential redevelopment of the former Best Foods site for retail or manufacturing. This is the same developer who built the Bayonne Crossing Mall on Route 440.
Fares named to Planning Board
Mahmoud Fares was named by Mayor Mark Smith to the Bayonne Planning Board for a term expiring on Dec. 31, 2015.
Congress passes two-year transportation funding bill
Rep. Albio Sires joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing H.R. 4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, by a vote of 373-52. This legislation authorizes highway and transit programs at current levels through September 2014.
“While I would have preferred a surface transportation bill of a longer duration, I am pleased that we have passed a surface transportation bill with over two years of funding, which will provide much needed certainty for New Jersey businesses and local transportation agencies,” said Congressman Sires. “Not everything in this legislation is what I hoped for, but ultimately this bill is necessary to maintain infrastructure that is critical to our economy, and is estimated to create or save more than two million jobs.”
Under H.R. 4348, highways and mass transit programs will be funded at $120 billion and is fully paid for. New Jersey is estimated to receive over $960 million each year for the next two years for federally aided highway funding. Mass-transit program funding will remain level and transit safety will be strengthened through comprehensive safety plans. Project delivery will be streamlined and transportation programs will be consolidated from approximately 60 programs into four core programs. Additionally, the bill includes language to provide veterans’ preference for transit construction projects.
“Construction workers in New Jersey will be able to get back to work, local agencies will be able to plan for large projects, and commuters will be safer,” said Sires. “This legislation finally ends the series of short term extensions, but now we must think ahead to 2014 when Congress will have to pass what I hope will be a more comprehensive authorization to better address our nation’s transportation needs.”
ACLU to review public facility use policy
American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey has agreed to look into an ordinance that requires civic and other groups to provide $1 million in insurance coverage before being allowed to use public spaces such as rooms in the Bayonne Public Library.
The City Council approved the ordinance earlier this year and resulted in several groups being denied use of facilities, including long-time civic associations that had frequently used public spaces in the past.
The ordinance also changed the city’s chain of command so that use of all public spaces had to be approved through the mayor’s office. In the past, directors of various departments had the authority to approve or deny requests. Representatives from the ACLU are expected to review the policy over the next week to determine it if infringes on civil rights.