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Public Statements

Letter to Anthony Foxx, Secretary of Transportation, & Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development - Hurricane Sandy Resiliency Funding

September 19, 2013
The Honorable Anthony Foxx
Secretary of Transportation
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590

The Honorable Shaun Donovan
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
451 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20410

Dear Secretary Foxx and Secretary Donovan:

Safe, reliable transit service is critical to New Jersey's security, economic health, and for the quality of life of the state's citizens. Therefore, we urge you to expedite the release of the nearly $5 billion of remaining Superstorm Sandy resiliency funding, and to allocate those funds to transit agencies based on risk and cost-benefit principles.

Long before Superstorm Sandy, the tragic events of September 11th and the massive power blackout of 2003 demonstrated the importance of transit to the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region. During those events, New Jersey Transit and the Hudson River ferries played a vital role in evacuating New York City and transporting New Jersey residents back safely to their homes. During Hurricane Katrina, we all watched the devastating impacts of not having sufficient transportation resources in place to evacuate people out of harm's way. Given the size of the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, the importance of strengthening the resiliency of this region's transit systems cannot be understated. In times of peril, when you need to move the masses, mass transit is often the solution.

Last fall, Superstorm Sandy made it clear that New Jersey Transit itself is not immune to natural disasters. We seek to make our transit systems more resilient in order to avert the economic loss and human calamities that could arise in the wake of a massive storm or other disruption. As we have unfortunately witnessed, such disasters can leave roadways closed, gasoline unobtainable and the power grid compromised for weeks. The continued ability of the public transit network to carry citizens and emergency responders is of the utmost importance during these times of public need. That is why we must ensure that those transit assets that are most required during disasters are the ones that are made most resilient.

We urge you to expedite the release of Sandy transit resiliency funding and to ensure that these resources are spent wisely. We believe the best means of ensuring wise allocation of funds is to request project proposals from the local transit agencies impacted by Superstorm Sandy and to evaluate those requests based on cost benefit and risk assessment principles.

Sincerely,

Robert Menendez Jeff Chiesa
United States Senator United States Senator

Robert Andrews Frank LoBiando
United States Representative United States Representative

Jon Runyan Chris Smith
United States Representative United States Representative

Scott Garrett Frank Pallone
United States Representative United States Representative

Leonard Lance Albio Sires
United States Representative United States Representative

Bill Pascrell, Jr. Donald Payne, Jr.
United States Representative United States Representative

Rodney Frelinghuysen Rush Holt
United States Representative United States Representative


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