Federal Transit Administration surpasses half-billion dollars in emergency allocations
WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the second allocation of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) storm-related aid through the FY 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act. The $164.2 million allocated today includes $163.4 million to reimburse New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJT), the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corp. (PATH) and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for expenses incurred while preparing for and recovering from Hurricane Sandy. The City of Long Beach and Westchester County in New York and the Milford Transit District in Connecticut received reimbursements totaling an additional $841,000.
“In keeping with our pledge to help transit agencies make a full recovery from Hurricane Sandy, we are moving quickly to get disaster relief funds out the door as soon as possible,” said Secretary LaHood. “President Obama has called on us to invest in our nation’s infrastructure—and that includes ensuring that our transit systems are in good working order and ready to meet riders’ needs safely and efficiently.”
This second round of federal transit funds are part of the FTA’s Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program, which allows FTA to reimburse eligible public transportation capital and operating costs in the event of a federally declared disaster.
A total of $10.9 billion was appropriated for the program under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on January 29, 2013. However, this funding is now reduced by 5 percent, or $545 million, because of the mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration that took effect on March 1.
“In just over six weeks since President Obama signed the disaster relief bill into law, the FTA has responsibly allocated more than half a billion dollars to reimburse transit agencies most impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “With millions of commuters using these systems each day and transit ridership approaching record highs across the nation, we must ensure that these systems are fully restored and protected from future disasters.”
The $164,228,214 allocated today will reimburse for labor, materials and capital costs incurred to protect vehicles, facilities and infrastructure; conduct emergency operations, including temporary transit service; and make immediate and permanent repairs, as follows:
- NJT is receiving $144,416,559 for repair and replacement of equipment and facilities that suffered extensive damage by Hurricane Sandy, restoration of bus service, and emergency bus and special ferry operations to transport NJT passengers to and from Manhattan until rail service and tunnel operations could be restored. Funds will be used to repair extensive damage due to flooding to facilities, rail infrastructure and equipment, including Hoboken Yard and Terminal, maintenance facilities and power substations, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line, Newark City Subway Light Rail System, North Jersey Coast Commuter Rail Line and Gladstone Branch Commuter Rail Line.
- PATH is receiving an additional allocation of $18,213,824 following FTA’s first allocation of $141,506,347 on March 6. This brings the total amount reimbursed to PATH to $159,720,171. The funds are for efforts undertaken to address the storm’s catastrophic impact on commuter rail service between New York and New Jersey (including the Hoboken-World Trade Center and service between Hudson and Essex counties in New Jersey and Manhattan). Funds were expended to set up alternative commuter service; repair electric substations and signal infrastructure; replace and repair rolling stock; and repair maintenance facilities.
- New York MTA is receiving an additional allocation of $756,915 following FTA’s first allocation of $193,136,983 on March 6. This brings the total amount reimbursed to the MTA to $193,893,898. The funds are for repair and restoration of the Easter River tunnels; the South Ferry/Whitehall station; the Rockaway line; rail yards, maintenance shops, and other facilities; and heavy rail cars. The funds support work by New York City Transit; the Staten Island, Long Island, and Metro-North railroads; and MTA Bus.
- The City of Long Beach is receiving $518,364 for emergency protective measures taken, such as evacuating residents to shelters, moving transit equipment to protect against the storm, providing additional transit service in place of the disabled Long Island Rail Road, and emergency repairs to buses damaged by salt water erosion.
- Westchester County is receiving $317,200 for emergency protective measures to minimize the impact of extreme weather on the Bee-Line bus system, such as surveying roads for closure and maintaining personnel onsite at transit garages, as well as restoring service following the storm.
- The Milford Transit District is receiving $5,352 for operating expenses associated with evacuations, transporting residents for the City of Milford’s Safe and Warm Program in areas without power, and for debris removal.
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) authorized FTA’s Emergency Relief Program, granting FTA the primary responsibility for reimbursing emergency response and recovery costs after an emergency or major disaster that affects public transportation systems. On February 6, 2013, FTA issued a notice of funding availability outlining three eligible categories of funding for which applicants affected by Hurricane Sandy could request reimbursement through the new program. FTA announced the first round of reimbursements on March 6. Up to $2 billion of this aid must be made available no later than March 30, 2013. Additional requests for reimbursement will be reviewed on a rolling basis.