NEWARK – A $44 million federal grant to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will be used to modernize nearly 3 miles of roads at the north entrance of Port Newark and the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal.

The work will reduce congestion and vehicle emissions in the areas near Interstate 78 and the New Jersey Turnpike, by Newark Liberty International Airport. It includes replacing the Corbin Street ramp and realigning portions of three streets – Corbin, Port and Kellogg streets – in addition to upgrades at other intersections.

“Another great day for Port Newark and Elizabeth, for jobs and our economy, for the environment and for the health of nearby communities,” U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said at a news conference Monday.

“This project’s good for the port. It’s good for the planet. And it’s good for the people,” he said. “It doesn’t get better than that.”

An estimated 15,000 trucks travel daily through the port’s corridor, including 3,600 trucks an hour during peak times. The Port Authority said there were more than 400 truck accidents and three fatalities between 2005 and 2018.

“This is a very dangerous region,” said U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who lives 2 miles from there. “This project alone will save lives. It’ll cut by about 40% the number of accidents and fatalities.”

The money isn’t in hand yet. It was announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation a month ago and can start being obligated a month from now, unless Congress intervenes.

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In all, $905 million was awarded to 24 projects in 18 states under the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America discretionary grant program. There were 157 applications from 42 states in all, seeking around $6.8 billion in funding.

INFRA grants are given to project of regional or national significance that improve road safety, enhance intermodal transportation, reduce environmental impact and generate economic dividends. For the first time, the Biden administration added criteria that look at climate change and environmental justice.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com.

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