Menendez, Lautenberg Announce More Than $38 Million In New Funding For Major Rail Bridge Between Kearny And Secaucus

Menendez, Lautenberg Announce More Than $38 Million In New Funding For Major Rail Bridge Between Kearny And Secaucus

Bridge Replacement Is Critical for New Mass Transit Tunnel. Northeast Corridor Will Receive $112 Million Overall

Washington - Senators Robert Menendez (D - NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D - NJ) today announced $38,500,000 in new federal Recovery Act funding to complete the final design for a new rail bridge over the Hackensack River between Kearny and Secaucus. Not only will the new bridge help improve the reliability of Amtrak and NJ Transit trains and reduce wait times for commuters, but its replacement is critical to the completion and success of the new Mass Transit Tunnel.

The Northeast Corridor (NEC)will receive a total of $112 million for improvements. This investment in national intercity passenger rail and high-speed rail projects is being made through grant programs created and authorized in Senator Lautenberg's Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which was signed into law in 2008.

Senator Menendez, Chairman of the Banking Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development, said: "This investment will benefit New Jersey economically in the short term, long term and the time in between. It will help get New Jerseyans to work, create an efficient high speed rail system, and the project is critical to completing the mass transit tunnel project. All told, the Portal Bridge project and the tunnel will create and sustain thousands of new jobs in their construction, maintenance, and use."

"This is great news for New Jersey. If we provide convenient, reliable rail transportation, people will choose it. This funding for the Portal Bridge project will help improve our rail service, while creating jobs for our residents and moving us one step closer to completing the tunnel project," Sen. Lautenberg, chair of the Commerce Committee's Surface Transportation Subcommittee, said. "I wrote these grant programs into law in 2008, and I commend President Obama for making them a priority and investing in high speed rail projects in New Jersey and the entire region."In August 2009, Lautenberg and Menendez wrote Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood supporting New Jersey's application to replace the Portal Bridge. "The project will also address a major chokepoint on the Northeast Corridor and provide the expanded capacity needed to realize the full potential of the Access to the Region's Core Mass Transit Tunnel," the Senators wrote. A copy of the August letter is available here.Approximately 420 passenger trains use the Portal Bridge each weekday. The current bridge, however, is over 100 hundred years old and can no longer meet the demand of today's commuters or rail traffic on the Northeast Corridor. The funding would help replace the current two-track bridge with a three-track one.

The Mass Transit Tunnel project, being built in partnership with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, is expected to generate and sustain 6,000 jobs through the construction phase of two new rail tunnels under the Hudson River, reinvigorating the link between New Jersey and New York and benefiting the regional economy with improved mobility. It is expected to create 44,000 permanent jobs.

The Tunnel project will double the current rail capacity by adding two new single-track tunnels. Doubling the number of tracks for trains operating between New Jersey and New York will increase service capacity to 48 trains per hour during peak periods from the current 23 trains. Twice as many passengers will be able to be accommodated, from 46,000 each morning peak period now to 90,000 in the future.