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Jan 11, 2021

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. wants to make sure the Portal North Bridge receives the federal attention and funding necessary in the new Congress to finish the project as soon as possible.

Rep. Payne, Jr. wrote a letter to Rep. Peter DeFazio, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to discuss the importance of the Portal North Bridge and new Hudson River Tunnel to transportation through the Northeast Corridor.  The letter was co-signed by 18 bipartisan members of Congress.  

“The current Portal Bridge is a 110-year-old swing bridge that is one of the critical arteries of traffic flow along the Northeast Corridor,” wrote Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr.  “Because of its advanced state of disrepair, the bridge frequently gets stuck in the open position, leading to significant traffic delays on the busiest rail corridor in the country. Any significant disruption of traffic along the Northeast Corridor has the potential to cost $100 million per day in lost economic activity nationwide. The bridge has decayed so much that in February 2020, the U.S. Coast Guard banned opening the bridge during morning and evening rush hours to avoid more delays. Replacement of this bridge is long overdue.”

The full letter is below.

 

January 8, 2021

 

The Honorable Peter A. DeFazio

Chairman

House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure                   

2165 Rayburn House Office Building                                                                                           

Washington, D.C. 20515                                      

 

Dear Chairman DeFazio:

We write to highlight the importance of completing the Portal North Bridge replacement project. This project and others such as the new Hudson River Tunnel are key components of the Gateway Program, the most critical infrastructure program in the country and the linchpin to our nation’s rail network.

We expect the Portal North Bridge Project to receive a Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transit Administration soon.   This is a critical step toward beginning construction. This new bridge will vastly improve travel at a critical juncture on the Northeast Corridor and create thousands of desperately needed jobs for American families.

The current Portal Bridge is a 110-year-old swing bridge that is one of the critical arteries of traffic flow along the Northeast Corridor. Because of its advanced state of disrepair, the bridge frequently gets stuck in the open position, leading to significant traffic delays on the busiest rail corridor in the country. Any significant disruption of traffic along the Northeast Corridor has the potential to cost $100 million per day in lost economic activity nationwide. The bridge has decayed so much that in February 2020, the U.S. Coast Guard banned opening the bridge during morning and evening rush hours to avoid more delays. Replacement of this bridge is long overdue.

We thank you for holding the Committee’s field roundtable on May 3, 2019 in New York on the importance of completing the Portal North Bridge and other projects under the Gateway Program.  The roundtable was a great opportunity to bring regional Members and stakeholders together to explain the national significance of these projects. Panelists at the roundtable underscored the need to have major Gateway projects such as this bridge completed without additional delay.

Thank you for your leadership on addressing the most important infrastructure needs in the country. We look forward to working together on the surface transportation reauthorization bill, the Portal North Bridge, and all other components of the Gateway Program.

Sincerely,

                                                                                                                                                               Donald M. Payne, Jr.

    Member of Congress

 

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Eleanor Holmes Norton                                              Seth Moulton              Member of Congress                                                         Member of Congress

                     

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                        Jerrold Nadler                                                             Albio Sires

                        Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

 

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                        David N. Cicilline                                                      Tom Malinowski

                        Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

 

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                        Christopher H. Smith                                                  Mikie Sherrill

                        Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

 

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                        Andy Kim                                                                   Donald Norcross

                        Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

 

                        /s                                                                                 /s

Jahana Hayes                                                              Mondaire Jones

                        Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

                     

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                        Bill Pascrell, Jr.                                                           Bonnie Watson Coleman

                        Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

 

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                        Adriano Espaillat                                                        Ritchie Torres

                        Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

 

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                        Jefferson Van Drew                                                   Josh Gottheimer

                        Member of Congress                                                 Member of Congress

 

  

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Economy and JobsFiscal ResponsibilityInfrastructure and TransportationLocal Issues