Amtrak, NJ Transit approve plan for Portal North Bridge construction

The state is offering more grant money to small businesses hit hard by the pandemic. Gov. Phil Murphy says the state is adding $15 million from its federal CARES Act funding to give direct aid to businesses struggling to stay afloat. The money adds to the Economic Development Authority’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. It’s approved more than 10,000 small businesses for grants totaling more than $44 million. Murphy says the money gets exhausted as quickly as it’s offered.

An agreement to replace the 110-year-old Portal North Bridge on the Hackensack River is finally in place. The swing bridge is known for causing delays and disrupting train routes on NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor. The agency’s board of directors unanimously approved the plan with Amtrak Monday night and say the groundbreaking for a higher clearance bridge could happen as early as next spring. It’s part of the broader Gateway Project that includes building a new trans-Hudson rail tunnel.

With regional airports mostly empty due to the coronavirus, it’s been the perfect time to get ahead on construction. Newark Airport’s new Terminal One is on track to open at the end of next year. The $2.7 billion project kicked off last October and officials say they should be 60% done by the fall. When it’s complete, Terminal One will be 1 million square feet with 33 gates. That’s expected to help ease passenger congestion and provide flexibility as traveling picks up during the pandemic.