A Missed Opportunity of Ultra-Cheap Money


The Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River in New Jersey, built in 1910, is overdue for replacement.CreditFred R. Conrad for The New York Times

Years of ultralow interest rates engineered by the Federal Reserve may have breathed life back into the economy and buoyed Wall Street. But they have not managed to solve problems like the aging Portal Bridge.

The 105-year-old railway bridge in northern New Jersey has for decades caused delays for commuters in and out of New York. “We have long desired the bridge’s replacement,” said Stephen Gardner, an executive vice president for Amtrak, whose trains use the bridge. “It’s time for it to retire.”

A replacement bridge would cost an estimated $1 billion, the sort of sum that financial markets can raise for a private corporation in the blink of an eye. Yet even though the federal government and the state of New Jersey can borrow at rock-bottom rates, the overhaul remains unfunded…

A Missed Opportunity of Ultra-Cheap Money

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