Secretary Ray LaHood
Sandy Hurricane Recovery Visit
Tuesday November 13, 2012
Hello everyone. Thank you for joining us.
I’ve just toured some of the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, and it’s clear that we have a lot of work ahead of us.
But as New Yorkers have shown the world time and time again—you are up to the challenge.
President Obama and the entire administration stand with the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
We are committed to helping families here in New York and throughout the Northeast recover and rebuild.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the President called us to action—asking that we do all we can to support our state and local partners as they work to restore vital transportation infrastructure.
That is exactly what we’ve done. Less than 24 hours after Sandy made landfall, DOT issued quick release emergency funds to begin repairing roads, highways, seawalls, bridges and tunnels.
These funds were issued as part of an extensive federal effort coordinated by FEMA—with $10 million going to help New York.
In total, we’ve disbursed $29 million to states recovering from the damage of Hurricane Sandy.
This support is helping us to restore critical infrastructure—which is essential to the first responders and relief workers who are aiding impacted communities.
We also led an Interstate Petroleum Transport Team charged with quickly and efficiently delivering much-needed fuel to the regions impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
And we coordinated with FEMA, the General Services Administration, and NJ Transit to sign a $25 million contract to arrange for hundreds of private buses to meet commuter needs in New Jersey—providing important access to Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City and Manhattan.
Doing all we can to get transit service up and running is a top priority for us. We won’t rest until families impacted by Hurricane Sandy can get to work, school, and everywhere else they need to go.
As we continue working with our partners in New York and New Jersey to restore transit service to millions of riders who depend on it, we must also look ahead to the future.
And that means continuing to invest in a variety of local transit options that give residents a real choice—so that if one system goes down, there are safe, efficient alternatives for getting around.
That’s why I’m pleased to bring some good news today:
The Department of Transportation is providing a $28.3 million grant for the New York City Department of Transportation to construct a nine-mile bus rapid transit line across the river in Brooklyn.
This is 71 percent of the cost of the entire $40 million project.
This is great news for the 44,000 men and women who already ride the bus along Nostrand [No-strand] Avenue every day.
For everyone who commutes back and forth from Prospect Park, Flatbush and Sheepshead Bay, the new BRT line will shorten their commute, because these buses will travel in a dedicated lane for about half the route. And traffic signals will be set to keep traffic moving.
We call this BRT done right – and it’s a great way to attract riders who have avoided bus service in the past because it was slow.
Hurricane Sandy has taught us many lessons. Two big ones stand out:
First, New York depends on a robust public transportation system.
And second, the New York metropolitan region, along with every major metro region in the country, needs a range of transportation options –
Not just highways and bridges, but a combination of subways, light rail, commuter rail, and bus service.
This new line is going to expand our options.
Again, the Obama Administration is committed to supporting state and local efforts to recover and rebuild. You are not alone in this—we stand ready to help.