The Center Square) – Ten miles of rail, $12 billion to upgrade for the 450 trains a day and their passengers.
With parts more than a century old, the line between Newark, New Jersey and Penn Station in New York City is chugging toward building the Portal North Bridge over the Hackensack River in New Jersey and starting work on a new tunnel under the Hudson River. A memorandum of understanding is in place between respective governors Kathy Hochul of New York and Phil Murphy of New Jersey.
“By signing the Phase One Memorandum of Understanding, we are establishing the framework to get this project over the finish line and are making good on our promise to modernize the state’s transportation infrastructure and create a mass transit system worthy of New Yorkers,” Hochul said.
Murphy said the signing “marks a pivotal milestone toward the completion of the most significant transportation project not just in New Jersey, but in the entire United States.”
He added the completed project will help the Garden State take full advantage of its status as “a regional crossroads” and the economic opportunities that come with better transportation infrastructure.
The rail section is part of the Northeast Corridor, the country’s busiest passenger line that crosses eight states and the District of Columbia.
The document establishes responsibilities for each partner as they work to get federal approvals for the tunnel project that’s estimated to cost more than $12 billion.
Both states will pay $386.2 million toward the Portal North Bridge construction, representing about 40% of its cost. Funding from federal government sources would cover the remaining amount. Once finished, it would replace the existing Portal Bridge that opened in 1910.
The two states also agreed to split the local share of the costs for the Hudson Tunnel project and pursue federal funding for it from monies set aside in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Congress passed last year. That project will create a new set of two tunnels connecting the states.
Passenger rail trains use the North River Tunnels, which were constructed more than 110 years ago. A decade ago, Superstorm Sandy caused the two tunnels to flood. After the new tunnels are built, work would then commence on upgrading the existing tunnels to increase passenger rail capacity.