Apparently, $2 billion wasn’t enough.
After securing approximately $2 billion in pandemic relief from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) for N.J. Transit, U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, said they want more federal tax dollars to help modernize New Jersey’s aging transportation infrastructure.
President Joe Biden recently unveiled his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan that calls for investing $85 billion in transit, $115 billion for highways and bridges, $80 billion for Amtrak, plus significant transportation investments in airports, seaports, electric vehicles, and hardening our infrastructure from floods and other natural disasters.
“The COVID-19 pandemic derailed mass transit budgets across the nation and here in New Jersey, and if Congress failed to pass the American Rescue Plan, workers and commuters would pay the price,” Menendez said in a news release. “But the American Rescue Plan was just that—a rescue plan. It was not a long-term solution for our nation’s outdated and crumbling infrastructure.
“That is why I am going to do everything in my power to ensure New Jersey’s priorities are front and center in the American Jobs Plan,” Menendez added. “We must complete the Gateway Project so vital to the economic future of the entire Northeast Corridor. We must strengthen public transit options, reduce traffic congestion, and build livable communities with affordable housing and transit options that connect workers to new jobs and opportunity.”
Menendez and Booker want more federal taxpayer dollars to help N.J. Transit pay for its $17 billion, five-year capital plan, including:
- Advancing the Gateway Project (including the Portal North and South Bridges and trans-Hudson rail tunnels)
- Extending the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail into Bergen County and the West Side of Jersey City
- Moving to a zero-emissions bus fleet
- Modernizing aging train stations and rail bridges, the Newark Light Rail and Camden River LINE
- Increasing rail capacity on several lines
“In addition to the service and staffing impacts on the operating side, there would likely have been impacts to the advancement of our ambitious, $17 billion, five-year Capital Plan and all the essential projects within it,” N.J. Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett said in a news release. “Bottom line, without these funds, the consequences for NJ TRANSIT and our customers would have been dire, at a time when more and more customers will begin returning to our system, and frequent and reliable service will be more critical than ever.”