New Jersey Moving Forward with $190 million Renovation Project for Newark Penn Station

Newark Penn Station in 1935. (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

(The Center Square) – New Jersey officials are moving forward with a five-year, $190 million renovation of the historic Newark Penn Station on the busy Northeast Corridor.

N.J. Transit has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for master planning, design and construction assistance for the 86-year-old station.

Newark Penn Station opened in March 1935 and is the seventh busiest rail station in North America. The station is listed in both the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places.

“Newark Penn Station is a focal point of the Northeast Corridor and is a gateway to our state for many travelers,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in an announcement.

“This major renovation and restoration project is an important step in the continuing revitalization of Newark,” Murphy added. “With this significant investment, our state’s largest city will greet commuters and travelers in a manner worthy of it’s great history and stature.”

As part of the project, workers will install updated amenities and upgrade pedestrian spaces. According to a news release, the station’s infrastructure improvements include “improvements for a station modernized in the post-COVID world.”

New Jersey officials want proposals to address “contemporary issues,” including public health and future transportation needs. They plan to evaluate proposals based on their ability to ensure the station features amenities and functions for residents, businesses and customers using the station.

This first phase includes a master planning process to solicit public feedback on the station. Once a contract is awarded, N.J. Transit will divide the requirements of the services into various phases.

The first phase of renovations will include restoring the classic benches in the waiting room, installing brighter lighting and a deep clean of the limestone exterior. Longer-term enhancements will improve the station’s openness and the overall commuter and visitor experience, including restoring the grand waiting hall.

“The release of this RFP helps us ensure that the enduring legacy of Newark Penn Station be protected while simultaneously improving and renovating the station to fit current customer needs,” New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and N.J. Transit Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said in an announcement.

The $190 million is just a portion of the tax dollars going to the NJ Transit-owned station and the Northeast Corridor.

In August 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a grant of more than $18.4 million to rehabilitate Platform D at Newark Penn Station. Both Amtrak and NJ Transit use the platform.

In December, the NJ Transit board of directors signed off on a $1.8 billion plan to replace a 110-year-old movable bridge over the Hackensack River on the Northeast Corridor.

Under the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will provide $766.5 million, while the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will provide $57.1 million. New Jersey will allocate $811 million for the project, while Amtrak chipped in $261.5 million.

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