LONG BRANCH, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey's mass transit system has received a welcome infusion of additional funding, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) awarded NJ Transit an additional $425 million for transportation projects as part of the annual Federal August Redistribution process.
This is the highest amount New Jersey has ever received, and the fourth-highest award nationwide, only behind California, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
Nearly $8 million from the federal highway money will go towards building a tunnel under the NJ Transit Long Branch train station.
Currently, the tracks slice Long Branch into an east and west side, which local leaders say is not ideal.
"They all suffer because people can't come to the other side unless they go about a half a mile around." New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone said.
"Residents have been cut off from the shops, restaurants and healthcare facilities on the other side," Murphy said.
The project is considered a game changer for people west of the tracks.
"I think it would give people access to get directly to us, and to me that would be awesome. It think it would create opportunities for other restaurants or other businesses in the area to expand," said Tom D'Ambrisi, owner of The Block.
Chris Manzo and his partners recently purchased two shuttered restaurants, which also sits just west of the tracks.
"I would imagine it's going to mean a lot. First of all, I had to walk to the train the other day, it confused me. You know, a tunnel would be nice," Manzo said.
Several residential developments are in the works. The tunnel would mean quicker access to the trains for commuters.
In all, about 15 transit and infrastructure projects now have the green light because of the federal funding.
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