Gov. Chris Christie stressed the importance of safety and the contribution of the Transportation Trust Fund when he unveiled a new 360-degree camera bus project Wednesday at the New Jersey Transit Newark Central Maintenance Facility.
“To be able to have a 360-degree view of any bus and its surroundings at any time while the bus is operating is something that will make our drivers safer, will make passengers safer and make those people who might be driving other vehicles or pedestrians around those buses even more safe,” he said.
Of the $140 million supplement allocated for NJ Transit, this initiative will use $29 million for the equipment and installation to NJ Transit’s 2,500-bus fleet.
“This is something that’s been a priority for NJ Transit. Now that we have a TTF to be able to do it, we’re doing it,” the governor said. “They made it a priority when I went and talked to them about safety. This is one of those things they wanted to invest in, and I certainly agree with it.”
The program will mount four ultrawide cameras in the rear, front and sides of each bus. The four different feeds will be adjusted for camera distortion and to provide a real-time, bird’s-eye view of each bus.
“This is one of several safety and technology projects NJ Transit will be undertaking in the coming year,” the governor said. “In addition to the 360-degree bus camera project, they will enhance the ‘My Tix’ mobile ticketing application that will increase functionality and ticketing options, as well as (make) preliminary preparations for the significant expansions for the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, as well as continue progress of the Hudson-Bergen rail northern branch expansion.”
The governor said there are approximately 925 TTF-funded Department of Transportation projects going on around the state, including 59 bridge, road and freight rail projects included in the $260 million in supplemental funding.
“As of last week, eight of those 925 DOT projects were completed, with a dozen currently under construction and five with a substantial design phase,” he said. “In total, over $10 million have been invested, supporting ongoing infrastructure projects going on throughout the state. This will increase significantly once the Legislature passes our 2018 budget, which will include the allocation of $2 billion in new TTF funding, the details of which will be coming out in the weeks ahead before approval of the project.
Christie thanked NJ Transit and its executive director, Steven Santoro, for prioritizing and working alongside his administration on improving the overall safety of Garden State residents.
“I want to thank the folks of NJ Transit,” he said. “When we decided to fund the $400 million supplemental, we came to NJ Transit and said, ‘Prioritize the projects that you need with an emphasis being on safety.’ They came forward with this project, which is obviously a significant one for the folks who not only utilize our bus service throughout the state, but also are in and around places with bus services. These make sure things are safe for the drivers and the passengers and also safe for those around the places where the buses are serving people. …
“I am happy to continue that the TTF is used in a way that is productive for the people of the state and will be making sure that, other than safety, it is convenient for them as they travel around.”