Bikeways: A New Jersey State Funded Program
State-run programs can run a gamut of interests and priorities, from those relating to the provision of welfare to those concerning the regulation of public utilities. Within this extremely wide range of priorities, states have begun to take a direct part in improving both environmental and transportation issues. In the state of New Jersey, where these two issues generally intersect with a great deal of relevance, the Bikeways program is a state-funded and statewide endeavor designed to encourage and accommodate greater interest in biking as an alternative means to transportation and recreation.
Accordingly, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT)(2011), describes a program in which state funding is dedicated to “constructing 1,000 new miles of dedicated bike paths (facilities that are physically separated from motorized vehicular traffic by an open space or barrier either within the highway right of way or within an independent right of way).” (NJDOT, p. 1) Additionally, the program is dedicated to creating an interconnected web of bike-paths across all municipalities and counties in the state of New Jersey.
In concert with the program, the Local Transportation Planning Assistance (LPTA)(2011) group provides a Bikeways Grant Program Handbook designed to assist in the process of applying for a bike path in ones county, municipality or community.
In addition to providing specifications for the process and qualifications relating to the awarding of such a grant, the handbook helps to delineate the stakeholders impacted by the program in question. First and foremost, the handbook indicates that there is a priority of involving all of New Jerseys counties and municipalities in the program. As a result, local organizations, cycling or conservation advocacy groups and local governments will all be stakeholders in this process. For instance, our research has identified such groups as the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), “an organization dedicated to assisting local communities in the acquisition of abandoned railroad corridors and the conversion of these corridors into trails that are used for biking, walking and running.” (NJS, p. 1) Such organizations are key stakeholders as they are likely applicants for the grant program described in the LPTA Handbook.
Also, according to the Handbook, key decision-makers at the local and state levels will take part in the evaluation of grants. The Handbook indicates that “all applications for funding must be forwarded to the appropriate Division of Local Aid and Economic Development District Office.” (LPTA, p. 3) This denotes a particular government agency charged with the task of distributing funds procured for the program. Additionally, this.