SOMERVILLE, NJ -- The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the Portal North Bridge replacement -- a key component of the broader Gateway Project that includes building a new trans-Hudson rail tunnel -- has officially moved forward into the engineering phase of the program.
“Delivering the Portal North Bridge for my constituents has been among my highest priorities since coming to Congress,” said U.S. Rep Tom Malinowski (D, NJ-7). “Relentless pressure from Congress has produced this major win for New Jersey commuters and I look forward to seeing it over the finish line as we continue to fight for the Hudson River Tunnel as well.”
In February, the Federal Transit Administration announced that it upgraded its rating for the Portal North Bridge replacement project to medium-high, making the project eligible to enter the engineering phase and take it one step closer to a federal full funding agreement. NJ Transit had requested approximately $800 million in CIG funds to complete the estimated $1.8 billion bridge replacement project. In May, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced over $91.5 million in funding to advance replacement of the Portal Bridge and make other upgrades to improve service along the Northeast Corridor
The existing Portal North Bridge is 110 years old, badly in need of repair, and a major source of delays for NJ Transit and Amtrak trains running between New Jersey and New York. Trains crossing the bridge must slow down due to its weak structural integrity, and when it opens to allow boats to pass it sometimes fails to close, disrupting rail traffic up and down the Northeast Corridor.
"I was extremely pleased to receive the news today from FTA Administrator Jane Williams that Portal North Bridge is authorized to enter into engineering, which is the next step before the Full Funding Grant Agreement and getting shovels in the ground for this project of national significance," NJ TRANSIT President and CEO Kevin Corbett. "With the $1.8 billion Portal North Bridge now advancing, along with the approximately $2.3 billion in capital projects we’ve advanced in the last two years, that’s more than $4 billion in construction work that will not only improve reliability and the customer experience, but will also contribute significantly to New Jersey’s economic recovery following the pandemic."
"We look forward to working with our partners at the U.S. DOT and Amtrak as this critical project moves toward construction," Corbett added.
The House Democratic majority ensured that sufficient funding was included in the FY 2019 and 2020 appropriations bills to cover the first stage of the Portal North project. The first bill Congressman Malinowski introduced, the Transportation Funding Fairness Act, allows New Jersey to count federal loans as part of its share of jointly funded transportation projects, and was also included in the FY2019 and 2020 appropriations bills. The congressman has participated in strenuous oversight of the FTA, and repeatedly pressed Department of Transportation officials to move forward with Portal North in hearings and phone calls with senior Department officials.
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