Lawmakers: Portal Bridge malfunction shows need for Gateway Project

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The Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River became stuck Friday morning, halting rail traffic during the morning commute.

This is not the first time the century-old bridge has gotten stuck and delayed commuters. The incident has prompted New Jersey lawmakers to continue to push the federal government to help fund the Gateway Tunnel Project.

The project would replace the Portal Bridge as well as build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River. But President Donald Trump has indicated that he is opposed funding for the project.

“If the tunnels are closed and the bridge doesn’t work, then at the end of the day we’re creating a trap for people,” says Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.

Menendez says that funding for the project will be included in the U.S. Senate version of a government spending bill, despite the president’s opposition.

"On the Senate side, we're insisting that there be money for Gateway and if that becomes the impasse over whether or not we can come to a national budget, so be it,” Menendez says.

Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur and other New Jersey Republicans have also united in calling for funding for Gateway. They are calling it a project of “critical importance.”

State officials have already committed to raising New Jersey Transit fares in 2020 to pay for New Jersey’s portion of the project.

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