Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has allocated an additional $2.6 billion in disaster relief funds to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts.
The funds, made available through the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Emergency Relief Program, includes nearly $898 million set aside to help the MTA with resiliency projects to help ensure transit assets are better able to withstand future disasters. These resiliency projects are aimed at protecting everything from trains and buses to stations, tunnels, and rail yards from storm surges and flooding.
"We continue to work collaboratively with our federal partners to secure all available resources to rebuild New York's transit infrastructure which drives the entire region's economy," Governor Cuomo said. "But it's more than just rebuilding. We need to dedicate ourselves to building a stronger, more resilient system that can withstand future storms and provide 8.5 million daily customers with a robust public transportation network that can deliver the service they depend on every day."
"We are grateful for the federal assistance we have received in order to move forward with vital projects to keep the subways safe and reliable for years to come, said MTA Interim Executive Director, Thomas F. Prendergast. "This funding will be incorporated into our upcoming Capital Program Amendment that will outline how we will make best use of these funds to rebuild and fortify our entire transit network."
Today's announcement of $2.6 billion in disaster assistance brings the total dollars allocated for Sandy-related activities to $3.79 billion, vital resources to support the ongoing recovery. The MTA had previously received nearly $1.2 billion in funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for repair and disaster relief work initiated by New York City Transit, Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Rail Road and other MTA divisions, as well as $3 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for MTA Bridges and Tunnels.
Sandy recovery and resiliency funding as of May 23, 2013 for the MTA is as follows:
Initial Allocation $193,893,898
3/29 Allocation $1,000,415,662
Today's Recovery Allocation $1,702,462,214
Today's Resiliency Allocation $897,848,194
Total Funds Allocated Today $2,600,310,408
TOTAL FUNDS TO DATE $3,794,619,968
Last week, Gov. Cuomo announced that service on the storm-damaged Rockaway A line will resume May 30 after a six-month effort to rebuild 1,500 feet of washed-out tracks, replace miles of signal, power and communications wires, and rehabilitate two stations that were completely flooded.
MTA New York City Transit has already established a new Sandy Recovery and Resiliency Division dedicated to launching, advancing and managing the rebuilding from Sandy, which will require years of construction and careful oversight of billions of dollars in federal aid. Plans will call for protecting stations, fan plants, under-river tubes, tunnels, ground-level tracks, signals, train shops and yards, traction power substations, circuit breaker houses, bus depots, train towers and public areas. The goal is to protect all points where the subway system could be flooded during a storm.
MTA Metro-North Railroad and MTA Long Island Rail Road also suffered extensive damage from Superstorm Sandy, and work continues at both railroads to harden their track, signal and power systems to guard against high water levels in future storms. MTA Bridges and Tunnels is studying how to better protect crucial elements as well, and is replacing equipment and materials that are at higher risk of failure in the Hugh L. Carey and Queens Midtown tunnels, which both flooded during the storm. In addition, Bridges and Tunnels will conduct a study, in keeping with recommendations by the NYS 2100 Commission, to examine what is needed to keep both Rockaway bridges in the highest state of good repair, particularly during extreme weather events. The Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial bridges were both heavily affected by high winds during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy and by flooding during Sandy.
While temporary repairs have kept most of the MTA network running, it will take years to design and implement permanent recovery measures. The MTA system suffered an estimated $4.755 billion worth of damage as railroad and subway lines, vehicular tunnels, subway stations and power and signal equipment were inundated with corrosive salt water during Sandy.
Before submitting grant applications for the newly announced funds, the MTA will be required to develop a list of eligible projects and work with FTA to meet eligibility requirements. The FTA will allocate additional funds in the coming months.