President Biden comes to NJ to tout Portal North Bridge project as infrastructure plan looms

President Joe Biden came to New Jersey on Monday to push his legislative agenda and to participate in the official groundbreaking of the new Portal North Bridge in Kearny.
The bridge is more than 110 years old and is known for getting stuck, causing delays on the Northeast Corridor. The $1.6 billion replacement project is expected to begin in 8-12 weeks.
Biden said that projects like this are part of an economic tide that will rise if Congress passes his stalled infrastructure bill and the “Build Back Better” agenda.
“These bills are not about left versus right or modern versus progressive or anything that pitches an American against another. These bills are about competitiveness versus complacency, competitiveness versus complacency. They're about expanding opportunity, not opportunity denied. They’re about leading the world or continue to let the world pass us,” the president said.
Still in the balance is the full Gateway Project, which would include a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River.
While Biden’s appearance in New Jersey was not an official visit for Gov. Phil Murphy’s reelection campaign, some say that the president’s announcing a project that will bring 8,000 jobs to New Jersey can’t hurt.
The bridge project was approved by the Trump administration after years of holdups. Funding continued by the Biden administration under Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Biden is also trying to revive the fortunes of his large $3.5 trillion plan that includes paid family leave, universal pre-K and expanded Medicare benefits for seniors. That program is stuck in a tug of war between progressive Democrats and moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
The New Jersey gubernatorial election is eight days away. Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli said on Monday that he is happy that the Portal North Bridge project is going forward and wants to see it built. He says that he disagreed with former President Donald Trump’s holdups.
But the Ciattarelli campaign says that high-profile visits from Biden and former President Barack Obama in the days leading up to the election indicate that the Murphy campaign is worried.