Top union leader praises Trump, Murphy on Portal Bridge approval

By David WildsteinJune 15 2020

New Jersey Globe

President Donald Trump with Gov. Phil Murphy, Chief of Staff George Helmy, and New Jersey Commissioner of Health Judy Persichilli.

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A joint effort by President Donald Trump and Gov. Phil Murphy to advance the $811 Portal Bridge replacement project has won the praise of one of New Jersey’s most powerful union leaders.

New Jersey Building & Construction Trades Council president William T. Mullen said that Trump’s Friday evening tweet backing the $811 million project is “just another example of Garden State infrastructure investment moving in the right direction.”

“Governor Murphy’s successful effort to gain some key federal support of the Portal Bridge funding means thousands of jobs for men and women of the New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council,” Mullen said. “President Trump’s support for the project is a positive step New Jersey is on the right track for this infrastructure investment to move ahead.”

Mullen said that Trump’s show of support, which followed a dinner with Murphy at Trump National in Bedminster, “is a win-win situation because New Jersey commuters will receive much needed relief and rider reliability while thousands of jobs will be created during one of the most uncertain economic times in our nation.”

The labor leader specifically singled out U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, “who have been steadfast working behind the scenes over the last few years to make this major rail project a reality.”

The replacement of the 110-year-old bridge has been considered a critical component for the future of moving New Jerseyans across the Hudson River.  The bridge constantly breaks down and carries about 450 trains and 200,000 passengers daily.

The Trump administration announced approval of almost $100,000 in federal funding for the Portal Bridge replacement in May. The Federal Transit Administration had moved the project rating from Medium-Low to Medium-High in the Capital Investment Program early this year.

Trump and Murphy have developed a cordial relationship after coordinating the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and Trump has praised the Democratic governor for his efforts.

“They have a wonderful man that’s running it, who’s — he runs it with heart and with brains, and he — he’s done a terrific job.  We are together.  We are working closely,” Trump said about Murphy after an Oval Office visit in April.

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