Friday, January 29, 2010

NJ Transit Announces Funding For Portal Bridge Project

New Jersey Transit is getting $38.5 million of the nearly $1.3 billion needed for the replacement of the obsolete Portal Bridge that NJ Transit and Amtrak use for carrying Northeast Corridor traffic into New York Penn Station.

The reasons why the bridge needs to be replaced are legion, starting with the fact that the 100+ year old bridge is obsolete, insufficient to carry existing and future demand, and frequently breaks down causing delays throughout the Northeast Corridor.

The replacement bridges will actually carry five tracks with sufficient clearance over the Hackensack River to not require a moving span (the Portal Bridge is a swing bridge). It would also allow trains to travel at far greater speeds through the Meadowlands and cut trip times significantly in this area of the Corridor.

I just wonder why New Jersey's delegation is cheering at getting crumbs for this essential project (in many ways, it's more pressing in need than the ARC Tunnel project because the tunnels are at least not constantly breaking down thwarting all traffic on the corridor). Instead of providing all the money needed to get this project done in a more timely basis, individual projects limp along with insufficient funding that causes their costs to increase and to take longer to complete than if they were adequately funded from the outset.

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