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Pascrell Praises Murphy and Biden for Portal Bridge Build Back Better Breakthrough

Event in Kearny heralds movement on new bridge construction after over a decade of delays

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) today spoke at the Meadowlands Maintenance Complex in Kearny with President Joe Biden and Governor Phil Murphy about reconstructing the century-old Portal Bridge that has bedeviled Garden State commuters for years.

Long considered the linchpin of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) connecting Boston to Washington, D.C., the 110-year-old Portal Bridge carries an average 450 trains and 200,000 passengers each day.  The antiquated, swing-style span over the Hackensack River in Kearny is notorious for breaking down and getting stuck in the open position, stranding commuters and grinding Amtrak and NJ Transit service to a halt.  Building a new, higher, fixed Portal North Bridge is a key component of the broader Gateway Program that also includes construction of a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River into Manhattan, among other improvements. 

The text of Rep. Pascrell’s complete remarks is provided below.

Rep. Pascrell remarks on the Portal Bridge (as prepared)

Mr. President, on behalf of the New Jersey congressional delegation, welcome back to the greatest state in our Union!

The tri-state is the beating heart and North Jersey is the central artery of America’s transportation system.

The Portal Bridge was built when William Howard Taft was sitting in the Oval Office. But thanks to our federal/state partnership, transit commuters and Amtrak passengers will no longer be reliant on this relic.

This is no hyperbole: The Portal bridge project will ease millions of lives. Its modernization will provide union jobs and ensure safe and continued growth for generations.

New Jerseyans have waited a long time for this day.

Today’s announcement is a testament that leadership matters. Prior administrations here in New Jersey and Washington tried to derail our progress. They let the Portal and larger Gateway projects languish. 

But thanks to President Biden, Governor Murphy, and our united congressional team, we are finally moving forward.

This is more than eliminating missed connections or trains delayed by a stuck bridge. It is about getting parents home to relieve child care, have dinner with the kids, or help with homework.

Quality of life here in New Jersey will improve because of decisive and effective leadership here at Portal, and through the physical and human investments we will make in the Build Back Better and infrastructure plans. 

Thank you very much. God bless the Garden State. 

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