Since Hurricane Sandy made landfall nearly 15 months ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation has worked alongside the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to help the nation’s busiest transit network recover as quickly as possible. On Friday we continued that work with a grant of $886 million to help the MTA continue rebuilding and replacing transportation equipment and facilities damaged or destroyed by the storm.
The funds we are providing will go a long way to help the MTA continue clearing debris from tunnels, rebuilding stations, and replacing electrical systems damaged by flooding. We're working to give transit riders a system that will be stronger than ever before.
When Sandy hit the East Coast, it cut power, destroyed homes, and brought devastation to the communities in its path. It also triggered the worst public transit disaster in American history.
The region in Sandy’s path accounted for more trips taken via transit than any other in the country. In fact, when the storm hit, half of the nation’s transit capacity was shut down. The good news was that –even before the storm made landfall– the women and men of the MTA were at work preparing so they could quickly assess damage, restore service, and help figure out how to get people moving again.
In the months after Sandy, our Federal Transit Administration allocated billions from the Disaster Recovery Act to help rebuild the hardest-hit transit systems. As FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff observed, "The MTA did an extraordinary job restoring service in the wake of the storm, and federal funding sped that work along."
But as Administrator Rogoff also noted, "There are still key pieces missing."
So, with Friday's announcement, we are keeping our promise and helping the Tristate region rebuild stronger than before. The $886 million is a significant chunk of the $3.8 billion that we committed to the MTA shortly after the storm hit. It’s both a reimbursement for work that’s already underway as well as a down payment on future projects.
MTA will use the funds to complete hundreds of projects in the following categories:
- Rail Support and Equipment Facilities Repair: $535 million for critical repairs primarily to three damaged under-river tunnels—Greenpoint, Montague, and Steinway.
- Electrical and Power Distribution Repair: $138.9 million to restore damaged substations and power infrastructure for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North Railroad.
- Signal and Communication Repair: $88.1 million to repair essential communications and signal equipment for Metro-North (system-wide) and LIRR’s Long Beach Branch and Westside storage yard.
- Transitway Line Restoration: $91.5 million to restore damaged rights of way on the Metro-North Harlem, Hudson, and New Haven Lines; and for design services to make long-term repairs to damaged assets.
- Rail Stations, Stops, and Terminals: $32 million to repair to stations, employee facilities, and fare collection equipment for both rail and bus facilities.
It's quite a list. But when it's completed, MTA will have rebuilt and strengthened the nation's busiest transit system against future storms, taxpayer dollars won't have to be spent to restore transit infrastructure a second and third time, and transit riders will be able to get where they need to go after the next storm hits.
When disaster strikes, this nation comes together to support communities in need. I'm proud that this Department has the opportunity to continue supporting the MTA's important work.