U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Booker (D-NJ), along with U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), announced Thursday the state would receive $248 million in federal funding for the Portal Bridge replacement project.
Part of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration grant funding, the money is part of the Capital Investments Grant program, which provides funding for major transit infrastructure capital investments across the country.
“This funding is critical to advance the Portal Bridge replacement and provide much-needed relief to delay-weary commuters on the Northeast Corridor, and it’s a testament to the unrelenting efforts of our congressional delegation to overcome unprecedented roadblocks put up by the Trump Administration,” Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate’s Transit Subcommittee said. “Despite the President’s veto threat, we fought hard in the Congress in subsequent budget years to beef up funding for federal transit programs to ensure there was money available to move Gateway forward. Our efforts are paying off.”
The Portal Bridge Replacement project seeks to replace the 110-year-old bridge with a new, higher bridge. A linchpin of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor connecting Boston to Washington, D.C., the bridge carries an average of 450 trains and 200,000 passengers each day. But the bridge is also known for break downs and getting stuck in the open position, which creates delays, strands commuters and brings not only Amtrak but also the NJ Transit service to a halt. The project also includes the construction of a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River into Manhattan and other improvements.
“When the portal bridge was built, William Howard Taft was in the White House and Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics won the World Series. It’s been long past time to replace this transit chokepoint for our region,” Pascrell said. “Thanks to Governor Phil Murphy and the work of our delegation, New Jersey has done its part, and this funding from the federal government will help us get moving on a needed construction project that will create new jobs. Our commuters have waited long enough for relief.”
One-fifth of the U.S. economy is generated in the Northeast Corridor. It is estimated that a disruption along the corridor would cost the U.S. economy $100 million a day in lost production and economic activity.