The 100-year-old Portal Bridge that crosses the Hackensack River between Kearny and Seacaucus, N.J. will receive $38.5 million in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the final design of a new bridge, announced United States Senators Frank R. Lautenberg, Robert Mendez and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The replacement of the two-track bridge will help to lessen the amount of delays to the Northeast Corridor passenger service, increase capacity and reliability. Approximately 420 passenger trains use the current bridge each weekday.
“The Portal Bridge is a major chokepoint for thousands of commuters every day and an obstacle in the way of our efforts to improve regional rail transportation,” said Lautenberg in a statement.
The replacement of the Portal Bridge is also expected to help advance Amtrak’s proposal to build two new rail tunnels from New Jersey to New York City called the “Gateway Project.”
The Portal Bridge funding is part of more than $300 million in obligated grants issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation for the expansion of high-speed intercity passenger rail corridors around the country. The Federal Railroad Administration has been working collaboratively with states to move grants from “award to obligation,” ensuring that these projects can get underway.
“We have heard the call of the American people to build the safest, fastest and most efficient ways to move people and goods,” said LaHood. “Through high-speed rail, we are helping America win the future.”
Additional funding includes $40 million for the upgrade of Connecticut’s New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail corridor and $3.3 million for the addition of rail and track capacity for the Amtrak’s Adirondack and Ethan Allen Express services in Upstate New York.