New Jersey pushes for federal funding to replace crumbling Portal Bridge, which carries 450 Amtrak, NJ Transit trains each weekday

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Every day, the 110-year-old Portal Bridge in New Jersey carries 450 trains into and out of New York City -- and political leaders are painting a picture of pending doom if the structure is not replaced in short order.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and other state officials rallied Wednesday, calling for the federal government to provide more funding for a replacement bridge.

Frustrated commuters are familiar with what happens when the old-fashioned swing bridge gets stuck: Major delays choke New Jersey Transit and Amtrak lines, sometimes for several hours at a time.

The bridge is suffering from age and deterioration. At times, workers need to use a sledgehammer to get the bridge into alignment so trains can move over the bridge.

A replacement bridge would cost $1.8 billion, and the state is setting aside $600 million for the project but is calling on the federal government to kick in its share to get this off the ground.

The bridge had been considered a high priority but was downgraded by the Trump administration to a lower prioirty item.

Yet officials in New Jersey are calling it the most important infrastructure project in the entire nation.

"Every day the Portal Bridge replacement is delayed, it costs an estimated $150,000, and it costs the roughly 200,000 travelers who rely on it functioning and all of us untold stress just hoping that its rusty components can hold for one more train and one more day," Murphy said.

The state has submitted a new application to the federal government, hoping for better results this time.

Officials said once it gets approval from the Trump administration to start the project, the state will be ready to start the project immediately.

Still, it will take months to review the application.

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