TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The century-old antiquated rail bridge that transports trains over the Hackensack River got a $91.5 million push in the right direction on Tuesday.

The Federal Railroad Administration is awarding $91.5 million to Amtrak and NJ Transit to get the replacement of the obsolete Portal Bridge moving forward.

“This is a huge win for our state for our commuters, and for the future of our economy,” said Gov. Phil Muprhy. “Quite frankly, given the economic power of the Northeast Corridor, it’s a win for our entire nation.”

The governor said a modern and reliable span will mean fewer headaches for commuters and travelers and better on-time performance for the mass transit system.

The Portal Bridge often got stuck and delayed commuters.

An analysis by Amtrak and New Jersey Transit found that from 2014-2018, commuters between New York and New Jersey were delayed 85 times and each delay lasted two hours or more.

The FTA previously upgraded the status of the Portal Bridge replacement project allowing for the engineering phase ahead of federal funding. The Trump administration blessed the improvements but said no to the Hudson River Tunnel often also mentioned as an example of the corridor’s aging infrastructure.

“We’re definitely making progress,” said Steve Sandberg, press secretary for Sen. Bob Menendez.

The bridge replacement is estimated to cost $1.5 billion. New Jersey has put up $600 million, and Amtrak is also contributing.

FLASHBACK: N.J. Gov. Murphy, Lawmakers Call On Feds To Help Pay For Portal Bridge Replacement

“The oft-malfunctioning Portal Bridge has become the bane of existence for commuters,” said Sen. Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate’s transit subcommittee. “It’s long outlived its usefulness, and must be replaced without further delay.”

According to backers of the replacement project, the Northeast Corridor generates one-fifth of the nation’s economy, and the NEC Commission estimates that a disruption of the NEC from Boston to Washington, D.C. would cost the country $100 million a day in lost production and economic activity.


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