The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has created a Local Aid Resource Center (LARC) to support local public agencies, fulfilling a pledge to offer proactive assistance. We sat down with Project Manager Katrina Lawrence, PE of our Philadelphia office, who provided insight into the LARC.
Tell us a little bit about what the LARC is and who it benefits.
A new initiative for NJDOT’s Local Aid division, the LARC was created to serve the needs of the 21 counties and 565 local governments throughout the state. It is a centralized source of information and a direct connection to a team of experts to assist every local government in project selection and delivery. The website houses the resources, calendar of events, and contact information, and a team of experts provides outreach to the whole state by attending conferences, presenting, and addressing questions and concerns through a hotline and email address.
What is your role on this project? I am McCormick Taylor’s Project Manager. Along with my team, I make sure we are providing new resources to local public agencies that are helpful, digestible, and relevant to their needs. I also work to produce the technical project delivery content, monitor our hotline and email account, meet routinely with local municipalities, and assist with the development and delivery of NJDOT trainings.
What about the project highlights McCormick Taylor’s talents? The LARC is a multifaceted project that showcases McCormick Taylor as the full-service transportation firm that it truly is. To date, one year into a three-year contract, this project has touched six different offices and given us the chance to display our extensive capabilities and experience in NJDOT project design and delivery. Our in-house knowledge and talent provide everything from technical assistance and trainings to GIS assistance, website design, video production, branding, graphics, event planning, community outreach, and social media.
Have you come across any challenges or concerns while working on this project? The State of New Jersey has local public agencies that vary in size, staff capacity, and experience. It has been challenging to identify the missing pieces as each community may need help in a different way.
What’s your favorite part of the site? It’s hard to pick one part of the site as my favorite. The website operates so well because it works as a whole. It’s a one-stop shop for everything that a Local Public Agency should have. It has a calendar for events, deadlines, and trainings, along with information on all the different grant programs, the latest news, and instructional videos.
What has the feedback been like from the community? Although we’ve just begun our efforts, we’ve received positive feedback. The local governments that we have worked with have been thankful for the additional help and clarification on some of NJDOT’s more complicated procedures. We are always looking to assist more communities and hope to hear from more local public agencies.
Would you participate in a similar project in the future? Absolutely. This project combines two things that I am passionate about: assisting counties and communities and thinking creatively to incorporate multimodal amenities, streetscape enhancements, and safety improvements at the local level. Visit www.njdotlocalaidrc.com regularly to see additional news and updates.