This afternoon, Amtrak requested $1.3B in HSR funding for the NEC. Amtrak’s request included $570M from the Federal government and $150M from the state of NJ for the replacement of the Portal Bridge. As reported on NorthJersey.com by Herb Jackson, Chris Christie has pledged state support of the Portal Bridge Project.
On Friday, April 1, Christie sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood declaring the state’s support of the project. According to Jackson, Christie is supporting the project on the grounds that is shovel-ready and will produce jobs:
“The bridge is beyond its useful life, which is reflected in high maintenance costs and frequent failures, and resulting train delays,” . . . “Moreover, this project, which can commence almost immediately, will create approximately 6,000 much-needed jobs.”
“Amtrak realizes significant operating profits on the Northeast Corridor, which helps to subsidize its operations in other regions of the country,” Christie wrote. “This important distinction justifies both federal and state spending on high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects in both New Jersey and the Northeast Corridor.”
Christie’s support will be critical in assuaging a nervous Department of Transportation. After the failures of Florida and Ohio, the DOT will be wary of sending money where it is not supported by local governors.
Christie’s full letter is not yet available online. It will be posted here when it is available.