NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — NJ TRANSIT is getting a boost from the federal government to upgrade and expand its bus service in New Jersey.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Monday that NJ Transit will receive $76 million in federal funds. The grant is part of $787 million being given out to support projects in 48 states.

“These are projects that’ll make a real difference in people’s lives,” LaHood said.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports

About $46 million will go to replace aging NJ TRANSIT buses with newer, more fuel-efficient models that could allow the agency to hold the line on fares.

“We will have a more reliable, a more efficient, a less costly and less polluting state-wide public transportation system,” Sen. Bob Menendez said, adding the agency will save approximately $1.8 million a year in fuel costs.

Officials are hopeful the savings will be passed on to commuters.

“It’s less consumption of gasoline,” Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said. “It’s also less subsidy that’s needed by the taxpayers of NJ TRANSIT to keep the system running.”

Another $27 million will go toward putting hybrid buses on the road between southern New Jersey and New York City.

And $2.6 million is earmarked for expanded bus service between Camden and Philadelphia.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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