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The Commissioner's Report

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NJDOT celebrates Earth Day

 

Delaware Bayshore Trail

The New Jersey Audubon Society is one of NJDOT's newest partners.

In celebration of Earth Day, we presented $409,000 to the Society to fund the Delaware Bayshore Birding and Wildlife Trail that will extend along the Delaware Bay in Cape May, Cumberland and Salem Counties.

The grant is a cooperative effort between state agencies, officials and residents of these three counties to fund the first such trail in the Northeast using existing roads, bike paths and public transit routes to connect wildlife viewing areas. The money will be used to construct the trails and to publish maps and informational booklets about the trail and nearby accommodations.

Known as a mecca for birdwatching, the area has annual impressive gatherings of snow geese and wintering raptors, migrating shore birds, songbirds and purple martins. Thanks to this grant, they will be enjoyed and appreciated in their natural habitat by many more people.

Last year more than 1.6 million residents and nearly 700,000 out of state visitors actively watched wildlife in New Jersey. The money that wildlife watchers spent in our state increased from about $864 million in 1996 to over $1.24 billion in 2001. NJDOT's modest grant to the New Jersey Audubon Society will enhance this major ecotourism effort and spur important economic activity in southern New Jersey.

Transportation is the physical link that connects these trails; it is the figurative link that provides for increased economic growth opportunities.

Nationally, 46 million Americans are engaged in birdwatching and generate $85 billion in overall economic output. This is directly responsible for 863,000 jobs nationwide.

The NJDOT is committed to partnering with agencies and organizations to foster this type of ecotourism activity in New Jersey.

Hybrid buses and ozone partnership

NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George Warrington and I rolled out two new hybrid buses that will serve customers in Bergen, Essex and Mercer counties.

The Newark event also launched the OzonePass Program that offers many New Jersey employees a discounted commute on days when high levels of ozone pollution are predicted.

Offering discounted tickets to use during high-ozone days, coupled with NJ TRANSIT's plan to reduce particulate emissions on buses, are two key initiatives being undertaken to meet Governor James E. McGreevey's new clean air initiative.

Between new bus purchases and modifications to NJ TRANSIT's existing fleet, particulate emissions have dropped by 77 percent over the last 10 years.

NJ TRANSIT was the first commuter system to introduce the OzonePass concept in 1999. Last year, 21 organizations bought 5,960 OzonePass tickets. OzonePass is sold in bulk quantities to New Jersey employers who will either sell or give the passes to the employees.

The day before unhealthy ozone pollution levels are predicted, employers will be alerted by fax or e-mail. The employers will then notify their employees who can use the OzonePass to commute on NJ TRANSIT instead of driving to work and contributing to the anticipated unhealthy pollution levels.

OzonePass is available to members of the New Jersey Ozone Action Partnership, an organization of more than 500 businesses and organizations. As a partner, employers can purchase a limited number of passes at the start of the ozone season. To register, employers should call (973) 491-7600 or send an email to zonepass@njtransit.com.

 
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  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
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  Last Updated:  January 19, 2005