Smith’s bus, road improvement projects for Mercer advance in transportation bill

June 11, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC — Two projects for Mercer County advocated by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)—including new buses for the county’s Transportation Resources To Aid The Disadvantaged And Elderly (TRADE) services—cleared their first hurdle Thursday, after the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) adopted Smith’s proposals and added it to a major transportation bill.

   Smith worked tirelessly with county and state officials to propose and insert their prioritized local transportation projects into the INVEST in America Act, a nation-wide surface transportation reauthorization bill.

  The bill, passed out of committee 38-26 yesterday, must still be passed by the full House, negotiated in Senate, then sent to the White House prior to September 30, 2021 when the current federal transportation surface projects authorization expires. So there are more steps along the way but it helps to be on the base bill.

   “Working together and seeking input from local officials, we were able to identify projects that address immediate transportation needs and potential hazards on our roadways,” Smith said. “The Mercer projects are solid investments and would yield benefits for years to come, in both improved lives of seniors and the disabled, as well as greater safety of all drivers and their passengers. The new TRADE buses would help people with no transportation get to their doctors appointments, grocery stores and other destinations. The road safety improvement project will protect and save lives. I appreciate the county for working with me to seek federal funding.”

   Smith, working with local officials, requested $732,000 to be added to the bill, or 80 percent of the $915,000 cost, for 11 new buses for the TRADE program that particularly services seniors and the disabled.

   He also coordinated with local officials to include in the bill $640,000 for the Roadway Safety Improvements in Mercer County to fund the installation of reflective road features, guide rails and other road safety measures. The project is estimated to cost $800,000, and Smith’s request would fund 80 percent.