At DOT, we are doing everything we can to support our state and local partners in getting their transportation systems up and running. Over the weekend, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) worked with FEMA and the General Services Administration to arrange for 350 buses to be used in New Jersey to fill in where commuter rail service has been disrupted.
The emergency bus service will provide transportation options for NJ Transit customers, with connections to ferries and rail and access to jobs in Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, and Manhattan. The good news for commuters is that seventy of those buses will arrive ready for service this afternoon in New Jersey and many more will arrive throughout the week.
Separately, FTA continues its efforts to secure commitments from transit authorities along the East Coast to provide buses to transit agencies affected by Hurricane Sandy in case they are needed. Philadelphia’s SEPTA has already loaned 31 transit buses to NJ Transit to help restore transportation service as a result of FTA’s effort. Those buses have been delivered and represent excellent interagency cooperation among regional transit systems.
President Obama told all of us in the Cabinet to go to New York and New Jersey and get to the places that need our help and let the people there know that our Federal government is on this.
So on Friday, I traveled to several sites in New Jersey to see the damage first hand and to find out what more needed to be done.
I toured the damage along the New Jersey coast with Governor Christie and U.S. Senator Menendez. Our trip was by boat and took us down the Point Pleasant Canal to the Intercoastal Waterway. From the boat, we were able to see Bayhead, Brick, and Mantoloking. The scene was devastating.
A wide swath of State Route 35 that runs up and down the shore had been overrun by the surging ocean. The surge also ripped away part of the Mantoloking Bridge on State Route 528 and several houses in Mantoloking.
Last week, DOT issued $29 million in quick-release emergency relief funds to get roads, bridges, and tunnels like the ones we saw on our tour open for recovery efforts. New Jersey received $10 million of that money.
I also went to Hoboken Terminal with Senators Lautenberg and Menendez. The facility is a critical transportation nexus for New Jersey commuters. That site typifies what we have seen happening across the impacted region. That beautiful train station was just inundated by water and mud. But already, we saw that crews have been on the scene working to get this historic station up and running again. And they have made tremendous progress in a very short amount of time. More work remains but I am confident that the work will get done.
We're taking President Obama's guidance to heart. The President made it clear that we need to cut red tape and lend support quickly to the states and communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
On Friday I told Governor Christie and Senators Lautenberg and Menendez that when they need additional resources they just need to pick up the phone and call. We will act quickly and there will be no delay in what we are going to do to support recovery efforts. We'll work 24-7 to provide the resources, the people, and the expertise to help the states get back on their feet and their transportation systems restored.