KEARNY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The State of New Jersey has received a grant to move forward with a project to replace the century-old Portal Bridge, which is a frequent chokepoint for commuters along the Northeast Corridor.

As WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) called the $16 million grant to NJ TRANSIT for the replacement project a great downpayment by the federal government.

Menendez said beginning the process to replace the railroad bridge over the Hackensack River is vital to the Gateway Project, which will eventually include a new Hudson River rail tunnel and an expanded Penn Station.

“Without the portal bridge being reconstructed, all of that would be for naught because the Northeast Corridor cannot get through to those new tunnels when we build them,” he said.

The money will be used for electrical and fiber optic work, and other projects to enable further construction. About $1 billion is still needed to rebuild the bridge itself.

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