Feds give Amtrak, NJ Transit $91.5M to help complete Portal Bridge project

GDC The Portal Bridge replacement project is part of the so-called Gateway Tunnel project.

Amtrak and New Jersey Transit were awarded $91.5 million by the Federal Railroad Administration recently to help the necessary replacement of the Portal North Bridge.

Gov. Phil Murphy said the money is a huge step for the state and regional economy. Left unsaid was the needed for billions of dollars for the Gateway project, which would create new tunnels from New Jersey to New York City.

“This is a huge win for our state, for our commuters and for the future of our economy,” Murphy said. “And, quite frankly, given the economic power of the Northeast Corridor, it’s a win for our entire nation.

“Replacing the antiquated and unreliable Portal Bridge with a modern and reliable span will mean fewer headaches for commuters and travelers, and better on-time performance for our mass transit system.”

The state of New Jersey already has committed to contributing $600 million to the bridge project.

Murphy, speaking at his daily COVID-19 briefing, thanked numerous elected officials.

“This has been a team effort, from our administration to our federal delegation, especially and including Sens. (Bob) Menendez and (Cory) Booker, and Reps. Bill Pascrell — a longtime champion — and Albio Sires, Donald Payne Jr., and Tom Malinowski — who each sit on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee,” he said.

“And, I also thank the federal administration for hearing our case and coming down on the right side for our state and our future. Now, let’s keep moving forward and building the new Portal Bridge.”

Pre-COVID-19, more than 450 trains carrying nearly 200,000 passengers crossed the current bridge during the week.

Menendez said the bridge, which is 110 years old, has to be replaced.

“The oft-malfunctioning Portal Bridge has become the bane of existence for commuters. It’s long outlived its usefulness, and must be replaced without further delay,” he said in a statement.

“This federal funding keeps Gateway moving forward and makes needed upgrades along the busy Northeast Corridor to provide commuters a safer, more reliable and more resilient transit system.”