N.J. Transit Applies for High Speed Rail Funding

NEWARK, N.J. — N.J. Transit said it is seeking $885 million in new federal funding for the renewal and replacement of key infrastructure on the Northeast Corridor, such as aging bridges, power supply and signal systems between Trenton and New York City.

A critical component of these upgrades will be the replacement of Amtrak’s Portal Bridge and concurrent expansion of rail capacity over the Hackensack River, an effort that will eliminate a major bottleneck and source of delays for rail commuters in New Jersey.

“These funds enable us to invest in improving the reliability and capacity of the busiest passenger rail line in North America—the Northeast Corridor,” said N.J. Transit Executive Director Jim Weinstein.

“Amtrak fully supports the N.J. Transit application for this vital project to improve the movement of passenger trains on the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor,” said Stephen Gardner, Vice President, Policy and Development, Amtrak.  “Portal Bridge’s replacement with a modern design, including a new third track, will expand capacity and provide for more efficient rail operations.”

Applying on behalf of N.J. Transit, the State of New Jersey is seeking funding from the Fiscal Year 2010 High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program as part of the Trenton-to-New York Service Development Program (SDP).

The construction program is intended to improve trip times, reliability and capacity on the nation’s most critical passenger rail asset.  In addition, the SDP will reduce delays associated with current passenger rail congestion between Trenton and New York Penn Station—the most heavily utilized section of the Northeast Corridor by commuters and intercity travelers.

The most significant component of the Trenton-to-New York SDP is the replacement of Portal Bridge, the 100-year-old moveable bridge between Newark and New York Penn Station.  The bridge has exceeded its useful life, as reflected in high maintenance costs and frequent failures that result in train delays.  Each weekday, nearly 330 N.J. Transit trains must cross Portal Bridge as they travel into or out of New York Penn Station.

In addition to improving reliability for today’s rail travelers, the agencies are working to leverage the Northeast Corridor’s benefits to the economy through reduced passenger rail, vehicle and air traffic congestion, as well as economic development.