When Hurricane Sandy devastated public transportation systems in New York and New Jersey, President Obama pledged to act swiftly to help restore service for millions of riders and help the region’s transit agencies recover economically.
And yesterday, we announced nearly $390 million to reimburse the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corp. (PATH) for expenses incurred during their efforts to prepare for and recover from the storm. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) received a smaller grant of $1.19 million.
At the height of the storm, more than 40 percent of our entire nation’s transit service was suspended.
As Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said, “The sooner we reimburse transit systems for the measures taken to minimize the damage and re-establish service, the sooner they can focus on long-term plans to strengthen transit infrastructure and protect against future disasters.”
The amounts announced yesterday are the first allocations from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.
- MTA is receiving $193,136,983 for repair and restoration of the East 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.
- PATH is receiving $141,506,347 for efforts to address the storm’s catastrophic impact on commuter rail service between New York and New Jersey. Funds were expended to set up alternative commuter service; repair electric substations and signal infrastructure; replace and repair rolling stock; and repair maintenance facilities.
- PATH is also receiving $54,243,826 for the World Trade Center Hub project, which was inundated by approximately 125 million gallons of tidal water. Recovery efforts included pumping; cleaning up debris; and repairing or replacing damaged and destroyed equipment, such as electrical switchgear and substation equipment.
- SEPTA is receiving $1,192,568 related to securing and protecting transit service serving Philadelphia and Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties prior to the storm; emergency activities during and after the storm to resume service as quickly as possible; and enhanced customer service to communicate with the public when service was suspended or resumed.
On February 6, 2013, FTA issued a notice outlining three categories of funding for Hurricane Sandy transit relief. The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, signed into law in January, authorized a total of $10.9 billion in total relief. But as of March 1, the amount of relief available to storm-affected transit agencies has been reduced by 5 percent, or $545 million, because of the mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration. Those cuts will come from money designated for transit agencies to build protections into their systems that would prevent damage from future storms.
Up to $2 billion of funds from the Act must be made available no later than March 30, 2013, so stay tuned for more announcements about support for transit agencies struck hardest by the storm.