NJ TRANSIT submitted an updated financial plan for the Portal North Bridge Project to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The revised plan was adjusted to reflect FTA and United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) feedback on a previous submission, making more local money available for the project while keeping costs in check.
The majority of the feedback from the federal government involved concerns over whether enough funding sources were identified and committed in the proposal to meet project costs and potential cost overruns. To demonstrate the funds would be in place for the project, NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak have worked together to identify and commit specific funding sources for the project. Amtrak has also committed an additional $55 million from passenger revenues toward project costs. The funds are in addition to the December 2018 agreement between NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak that provided another $182 million for projects in New Jersey such as the Portal North Bridge Project.
NJ TRANSIT submitted the revised financial plan as the Project Sponsor, in partnership with Amtrak. The agency had committed $600 million dollars to the project previously and is seeking approximately $811 million in federal dollars to complete the project.
Advancing the Portal North Bridge Project toward construction is critical to eliminating the major disruptions to train service on the NEC between Newark, N.J. and New York Penn Station. The NEC is the busiest passenger rail line in the U.S., and a long-term outage of the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River would result in catastrophic delays from Boston to the nation’s capital.
The replacement Portal North Bridge is designed as a high-level, fixed span bridge that will allow marine traffic to pass underneath without interrupting rail traffic. The project is 100% designed, fully permitted, and has seen early work completed on time and under budget. These successes make it especially well-positioned to begin construction to provide increased reliability and capacity to rail passengers throughout the region and nation in the near-term.
Once full construction begins, the remainder of the Portal North Bridge Project is estimated to take approximately five years.