Tuesday, August 28, 2012

MTA submits claims for $65 million from Tropical Storm Irene

Damage along the Port Jarvis line post Hurricane Irene Damage along the Port Jarvis line post Hurricane Irene Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York has submitted its Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and insurance claims to recover the $65 million in losses it suffered due to flood and wind damage to the regional transit infrastructure related to Tropical Storm Irene, which hit the region on August 28, 2011.

So far, FEMA has approved a total of 59 project worksheets systemwide totaling $27.7 million, covering multiple locations throughout the MTA service area. Each "project worksheet" was verified, including site visits and document reviews. Copies of contractors' bids and contracts, audited payrolls, including overtime payments, invoices for material procurement, project completion and more were included in the thousands of pages that were submitted to FEMA and more than 13 companies that insure the MTA.

"MTA employees in the field worked tirelessly, both to minimize damage in preparing for the storm and to make the repairs needed to restore service as quickly as possible," said MTA Chairman and CEO Joseph Lhota. "Then, their unsung administrative counterparts stayed on top of the myriad paperwork in order to expedite our reimbursement. Completing this massive task in less than a year is a testament to their dedication. Frankly, it's a good occasion to thank the claims managers and project managers and other office workers who made this possible."

Typically FEMA reimburses about 75 percent of approved costs. This recovery is expected to cover a significant portion of the MTA's $25 million insurance deductible. The MTA is diligently working towards maximizing recovery from all sources.

The insurers are reviewing the claim and already have made a $5 million advanced payment.

Among the MTA's operating agencies, Metro-North Railroad was worst hit with catastrophic washouts on the Port Jervis Line, where the raging Ramapo River flooded miles of track and left some dangling in mid-air when it receded. A series of mudslides on the Hudson Line, including one in Riverdale that required the long-term evacuation of an apartment building, also contributed to the claim.

Metro-North's claim for losses is approximately $27 million, of which $21 million is dedicated towards the West of Hudson. Metro-North repairs came in well below initial estimates made immediately after the storm and were completed expeditiously in just under three months.

New York City Transit's claim for losses is approximately $22 million, including $8 million in overtime spent preparing for the storm. In addition, New York City Transit claimed $14 million in lost revenue when service was suspended for the first time ever.

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