NJ Lawmakers Push Feds To Fund Project To Replace Portal Bridge

Mack Rosenberg
August 28, 2019 - 2:10 pm
Amtrak Portal Bridge

Tom Kaminski/WCBS 880

SECAUCUS, N.J. (WCBS 880) — New Jersey lawmakers on Wednesday again pushed the need for federal funding to replace the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River, as part of the long-talked about Gateway Project.

The century-old bridge often causes massive delays for Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains when it gets stuck after opening to allow marine traffic to pass.

“The bridge, which opens to allow maritime traffic to pass beneath it and sometimes closes, very often it doesn't and we literally have a fellow with a sledge-hammer come out and knock the rail into alignment,” Explained Gateway Development Corporation Chairman Jerry Zaro.

The Gateway Project, which the White House has opposed, would provide funding for a replacement bridge over the Hackensack River.

However, where the money will come from remains a central issue, according to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

“We put our skin in the game with a more than a fair share of funding,” he said. “Our administration has asked the Federal Transit Administration to allow us to begin work, but all we've gotten in return is radio silence.”

An application has been submitted to the federal government for the Gateway Project, which includes a new Hudson River rail tunnel.

The price of the project has been reduced by more than a billion dollars.

Under the Obama administration there was a "handshake agreement" that the feds would split the cost of the Gateway Project 50-50 with the states of New York and New Jersey.

The Trump administration has argued that the federal government shouldn't fund the project because it's not a national priority.