(The Center Square) – The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill Congress passed includes much of the federal funding needed to pay for upgrades to the busy Northeast Corridor, including the Portal North Bridge and Hudson Tunnel projects, officials say.
According to U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-New Jersey, the bill includes $66 billion for passenger rail expansion and improvements.
Of that money, $22 billion is for Amtrak, while $24 billion is in Northeast Corridor Modernization Grants. The $46 billion can be used to finance the completion of the Gateway Program on the Northeast Corridor, including the Hudson River Tunnel.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill delivers billions of dollars for the Gateway Program, the largest critical infrastructure project in the United States, bringing commuters the relief that they deserve,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “This legislation also includes significant funding for the expansion of broadband internet, addressing a key issue that impacts underserved areas of New Jersey and will be a gamechanger for those residing in them.”
It also includes $39 billion for public transit agencies, such as NJ Transit and New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), to expand and modernize rail and bus lines.
“This funding could be used for new fast ferry lines connecting the city’s five boroughs, upgrading our subway system’s pre-WWII signals, or completing the High-Occupancy Vehicles lane on the Staten Island Expressway,” U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-New York, said in a statement.
“…Additionally, this funding would reduce the need for the MTA to raid operating funds to pay off debt incurred for capital improvements,” Malliotakis added. “Simply put, it’s this type of investment that will not only save city residents’ time and money, but also their properties and lives.”
In a statement, Gateway Program and Amtrak representatives said the legislation “will mean relief for the hundreds of thousands of daily riders who utilize the Northeast Corridor, by finally replacing a delay prone 110 year old one-track-in, one-track-out system with reliable, resilient, 21st Century rail transportation.”
But U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-New York, said the measure is chock full of “misguided and downright dangerous policies.”
“Less than ten percent of new spending in this bill goes to roads and bridges,” Tenney said in a statement. “This shortfall reveals the real intentions behind the wasteful spending bill. It is not about investing in communities like ours, it’s about redistributing wealth from rural areas to urban centers.”