NJ Transit scraps back up power plant, shifts cash to other projects

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New York Construction Report staff writer

New Jersey’s public transit agency is scrapping plans to build a backup power plant that would have been fueled by natural gas and will redirect $503 million in federal funding to other projects.

The TransitGrid Microgrid Central Facility (MCF) was planned for a site near Newark.

Funding will instead go to infrastructure improvements at Hoboken Terminal, County Yard in New Brunswick, and the Raritan River Bridge.

Agency officials said in a statement that an intensive review of industry proposals for the MCF revealed the project was not financially feasible.

Also, NJ TRANSIT management, along with the Board of Directors, determined that the MCF funding would have greater benefit if applied to other key resiliency projects to harden the rail system’s more highly exposed infrastructure, which are at greater risk of failure in the face of increasing climate-related threats, and will directly benefit transit users every day.

“Reallocation of the MCF funding not only supports these high-priority resiliency projects, it also ensures that good-paying, union construction jobs that this funding supports remain in New Jersey,” said NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “We appreciate the close partnership with the FTA that will better protect our transit system for all New Jerseyans.”

All of these affected projects within the Sandy Resilience program are critical pieces of rail infrastructure including bridges, safe haven storage yards, and infrastructure located directly on waterfront properties bearing the brunt of past and future storm events.

Approximate reallocation amounts:

Delco Lead & County Yard Expansion – $175 million

  • The multifaceted project would address operations, storage, and resiliency needs along the NEC and provide a safe haven for rail cars in the event of a major storm or flooding event. The first two phases include the construction of a new Storage & Inspection facility, which would contain crew quarters and equipment storage space; and the expansion of County Yard. The final phase is the construction of a new Delco Lead track that would extend 3.5 miles south and have the capacity to store an additional 288 rail cars.

Raritan River Bridge – $240 Million

  • Includes replacement of the existing obsolete bridge damaged in Superstorm Sandy with a new, two track vertical lift bridge on an improved vertical alignment. The new bridge would provide a more resilient structure with additional vertical clearance above the 100-year flood elevation.

Hoboken Long Slip – $88 million

  • Phase I includes filling of the existing canal with structural fill and surcharging; Phase II includes construction of six new tracks with high level platforms and a small crew quarters facility on the filled in canal. Filling the canal eliminates a major point of flood water inflow from the river into the yard and greater Hoboken.

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