Byline: Linda Lindner
U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, both Democrats, along with U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell Jr, D-9th District; Albio Sires, D-8th District; Donald Payne Jr., D-10th District; and Tom Malinowski, D-7th District, on Monday announced more than $91.5 million in funding from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to advance replacement of the Portal Bridge and make other upgrades to improve service along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor (NEC).
The FRA awarded Amtrak $55,100,000 toward the federal cost share for the Portal North Bridge Project, while New Jersey Transit was awarded$36,408,410 to reconstruct electrical substation 41 in Kearny, which supplies power to a stretch of the NEC and existing Hudson rail tunnels leading into New York Penn Station.
The 110-year-old bridge is badly in need of repair, and a major source of delays for NJ Transit and Amtrak trains that run between New Jersey and New York.According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 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 between Boston and Washington, D.C. The bridge, which constantly breaks down, carries about 200,000 passengers daily.
"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," Menendez said. "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."
The new span will be built with 50-foot clearance above the Hackensack River, negating the need to open for passing marine traffic. This will allow trains to run at faster speeds and substantially reduce delays along the NEC due to openings for waterway...