Amtrak Portal Bridge

Tom Kaminski/WCBS 880

NJ Transit Given Extension To Get Funding For Portal Bridge Project

July 14, 2018 - 1:31 pm

NEWARK, N.J. (WCBS 880/AP) -- A $1.7 billion project to replace a century-old rail bridge outside New York City has received an extension from the government to apply for critical federal grants.

Sen. Bob Menendez's office says the Department of Transportation approved a six-month extension for the Portal North Bridge project.

Saturday marks two years since the project entered the first phase of applying for grants. It has received environmental approvals and awaits additional funding to begin construction.

Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate's mass transit subcommittee, has pushed for funding the bridge and the larger Gateway project to build a new rail tunnel.

There had been a great opposition to the plan from the Trump administration, including threats to shut down the government if any Gateway funding was included in the budget.

The House and Senate have both defied that threat and signed off on nearly $500 million in funding for the project.

The Portal bridge causes delays for hundreds of thousands of travelers when it opens to let boats pass underneath and fails to close properly.

Amtrak estimates one of the century-old tubes under the Hudson River could fail in the next decade.