WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, ranking member of the Senate’s transit subcommittee, issued the following statement after the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that it upgraded its rating to medium-high for the Portal North Bridge replacement project—a key component of the Gateway Project—but maintained a low rating for construction of a new trans-Hudson River rail tunnel:

“This is welcomed and long overdue news for New Jersey commuters. The 109-year-old, oft-malfunctioning Portal North Bridge is the lynchpin of the Northeast Corridor and must be replaced without further delay. This new rating allows this project to move into the engineering phase and puts it on track to receive federal funding.

“Make no mistake about it, this is the most significant step forward for the Gateway Program since this Administration took office. It is a goal that I have worked towards for years in my role as the Ranking Member on the Senate’s transit subcommittee, and is a testament to the dedication of stakeholders like NJ Transit and Amtrak, Governor Murphy, Senator Booker, and the entire Congressional delegation. Together, we worked to overcome unprecedented political opposition to advance a significant piece of the nation’s most critical infrastructure project that will help us meet the needs of our commuters and reinforce the backbone of the Northeast Corridor. However, our work is far from over.

“As I have said repeatedly, we can get Gateway done faster and cheaper with President Trump fully onboard. While it is my hope that the advancement of Portal Bridge represents a recognition by the Trump Administration that Gateway is a project of national significance, the continued low ratings for the Hudson River tunnels show that we must remain vigilant and continue to hold this Administration’s feet to the fire.

“I will not stop fighting until Gateway is fully completed. It is time to end the delays and build a 21st century transportation network that ensures the continued economic vitality of our state, region and nation.”