Friday, May 03, 2013

Feds provide $30.2 million to Amtrak for Sandy repairs

The Federal Railroad Administration has released $30.2 million to Amtrak to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy along its Northeast Corridor. The funding comes from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.

"Amtrak serves as a critical transportation link throughout the Northeast Corridor and we are committed to helping it rebuild from Hurricane Sandy on behalf of the thousands of riders who rely on it each day," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We continue to do all we can to help make all of our storm-damaged public transportation systems whole again."

The grant reimburses Amtrak for $20.1 million for expenses associated with pumping water from tunnels and debris removal and for immediate and on-going repairs to infrastructure needed to operate more than 2,000 trains along the Northeast Corridor each day. The balance of the grant money will fund repairs to the East Tunnel that connects Manhattan and Queens, the North River Tunnel that connects New Jersey and New York City and other facilities.

Following Hurricane Sandy, four of the six tunnels between New York City and New Jersey flooded with seawater. Immense amounts of water and debris were removed from the tunnels and system-wide repairs had to be completed before service could be restored. The most critical damage was to electrical systems, particularly the Kearney substation, located in Kearney, N.J., plus signals, lighting, mechanical rooms and emergency call boxes. The damage was caused by wind, heavy rains and saltwater.

"The storm's wake demonstrates the necessity to not only rebuild, but to invest in our infrastructure so we are better prepared to withstand and recover from future natural disasters," said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo.

Additional repairs to rail, crossties, ballast, third rail signal systems, pump stations, circuit breakers and infrastructure are still on-going and are expected to continue throughout the summer months.

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