Questions still remain after the recent announcement by NJ Transit that they have awarded a $1.559 billion contract for construction of the New Portal Bridge on the Northeast Corridor followed by President Biden attending a ground-breaking ceremony for start of construction earlier this week.
Amtrak’s $305 billion Northeast Corridor High Speed project calls for the introduction of equipment that will operate at a speed of 180 mph. It is my understanding that the new Portal Bridge has been designed, and will be built to accommodate increasing speeds from the current 60 mph to only 90 mph.
This same issues also applies to the MTA’s ongoing construction of the $2.6 billion LIRR Main Line Third Track. This conflicts with Amtrak’s long term plans to reduce travel time by increasing speeds up to 180 mph along the Northeast Corridor.
What future track outages and service changes might impact both Amtrak and NJ Transit customers will be necessary to support construction? How much time will lapse after construction starts and finishes before riders will see the full benefits of this investment?
Commuters, taxpayers, transit advocates, elected officials, transportation reporters and project advocates deserve answers to these questions.