$600 million bond issue approved for Gateway Portal Bridge

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NEWARK, N.J. — A financing agreement with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which provides up to $600 million toward the construction of a new Portal Bridge, was approved Wednesday by the New Jersey Transit Board of Directors. The commitment solidifies New Jersey’s local share of the cost, which is expected to be more than $1.5 billion in total, split among Amtrak, NJ Transit, and the New York and New Jersey Port Authority.

Said Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Dianne Gutierrez-Scaccetti, “The time is long overdue for a new Portal Bridge, which is the foundation of many commuter frustrations.”

The resolution approved by the NJ Transit Board of Directors authorizes the executive director in consultation with the chair to execute and deliver the funding agreement with the economic development authority. The authority will issue up to $600 million in bonds, which will be paid back over a 30-year term from the state Transportation Trust Fund; the same funding structure was used in 1999 for River Line light rail system construction.

“Our customers have suffered far too long from the outdated, unreliable Portal Bridge. A new bridge can’t wait any longer,” said NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett.

The existing two-track swing drawbridge spans the Hackensack River in New Jersey. The new bridge, also double-tracked, will be a fixed 2-mile-long bridge, with its highest point 53 feet above water level, with a clearance that will accommodate current and projected maritime traffic. With no need to be opened, train delays due to mechanical failures will cease.

Amtrak and NJ Transit are anticipating a 10 percent increase in rush hour passenger capacity upon completion. At this time, the new Portal North Bridge is fully designed and fully permitted.

At a press conference held after the board meeting was over, Gutierrez-Scaccetti, said succinctly, “We’re all in this together.”

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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