NJ Transit submitted on Friday an updated financial plan for the Portal North Bridge Project to the Federal Transit Administration 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.
“In 2019, the entire Northeast corridor simply shouldn’t be relying on a 108-year-old swing bridge that gets stuck and causes delays even when it’s working properly,” Jerry Zaro, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Gateway Program Development Corporation, said in a statement.
“The FTA needs to recognize everything that’s been done to strengthen this financial plan – including providing 100 percent of the local share of funding, increasing the amount of monies available to the project to cover contingencies, and completing early work on time and on budget – and move Portal North Bridge toward a full funding agreement so 200,000 daily passengers can finally stop worrying if a failing bridge is going to make them late to work or unable to get home for dinner.”
According to Transit, 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 that 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. These 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.