Colleen Wilson | August 28, 2019 | North Jersey Record |
The project’s funding comes down to an approval by President Donald Trump, said the president of the New Jersey Senate.
SECAUCUS — A congressman who sits on a transportation committee indicated optimism that the federal government will fund the dilapidated Portal Bridge rail crossing, at a press conference Wednesday on the vital crossing’s future.
While many of the lawmakers gathered at the NJ Transit station in Secaucus reiterated the same pleas to the White House to fund the project, Rep. Tom Malinowski suggested some promise for the project.
“I don’t count my bridges before they’re built, but I’m increasingly confident that the Portal North project is going to happen soon,” the freshman Democrat said. “I spoke to the head of the [Federal Transit Administration] last week … they acknowledged that we have taken every single step that we need to take to get this thing off the ground.”
An application for federal funding to cover just under half of the project’s costs — the total of which is now estimated to be $1.8 billion with contingencies — has been stuck at the FTA. So has an application for its partner project, the Gateway program to repair the damaged train tunnel between New York and New Jersey and build a new one.
The Trump administration has shown little interest in moving the projects forward, even as many consider them among the most urgent infrastructure projects in the country. The swing-span Portal Bridge, as most lawmakers in attendance pointed out, often gets stuck after opening, requiring a sledgehammer to bang it into place.
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