(The Center Square) – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is sending more than $18.2 million to N.J. Transit to help pay for upgrades to the Trenton Transit Center, improving the station’s oft-maligned condition.
The money is part of more than $291 million in funding the FRA announced for 11 intercity passenger rail projects in nine states. The money is part of the “Federal-State Partnership State of Good Repair Program.”
The total station rehabilitation is expected to cost nearly $27 million. N.J. Transit will chip in roughly $7.1 million, while Amtrak will contribute another $1.6 million.
“Many features of the Trenton Transit Center are outdated and decades behind similar stations in the region,” U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., said in a news release. “The planned repairs and upgrades will not only improve service to Trenton residents and visitors right now, they will reduce maintenance costs for years to come, ultimately saving local taxpayers.”
The project will rehabilitate two island platforms and upgrade a side platform to high-level boarding. The work will expand capacity at the station and bring it into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
“Thousands of New Jersey commuters rely on the Trenton Transit Center to get to work, visit family and friends, see doctors, access shopping and downtown centers, and travel along the nation’s busy northeast corridor from Washington to Boston,” U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said in a news release. “These critical infrastructure investments will not only improve the safety and reliability of service for rail and transit riders, but also ensure the Capital Region’s economic viability for years to come.”
N.J. Transit, Amtrak and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) use Trenton Transit Center, and more than 439,500 riders passed through the station in the 2019 fiscal year. A revamped station reopened in July 2008 following a three-year project; $46 million in federal funds and $33 million in state money went to the project.
“The Trenton Transit Center is a critical component of our transit system providing access to our capital city while also serving as a gateway between the New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan areas,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a news release.
Last week, N.J. Transit’s Board of Directors approved a $2.6 billion operating budget for the 2021 fiscal year. It also signed off on a capital budget that includes $11.2 billion for “projects already funded by existing or expected resources” and nearly $5.8 billion for “projects for which funding has yet to be identified,” but that are “vital” to N.J. Transit’s operations, according to a news release.
The budget allows the agency “to continue to provide necessary service to our customers and make improvements to an aging system,” New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and N.J. Transit Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said in a news release.
— Todd DeFeo, The Center Square