Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Northeast transit agencies receive second round of Sandy relief funds

Northeast transit agencies receive second round of Sandy relief funds NJ Transit

The second allocation of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) storm-related aid through the FY 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act has been released.

The $164.2-million includes $163.4-million to reimburse New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit), the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corp. (PATH) and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for expenses incurred while preparing for and recovering from Hurricane Sandy. The city of Long Beach and Westchester County in New York and the Milford Transit District in Connecticut received reimbursements totaling an additional $841,000.

"In keeping with our pledge to help transit agencies make a full recovery from Hurricane Sandy, we are moving quickly to get disaster relief funds out the door as soon as possible," said U. S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "President Obama has called on us to invest in our nation's infrastructure and that includes ensuring that our transit systems are in good working order and ready to meet riders' needs safely and efficiently."

This second round of federal transit funds are part of the FTA's Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program, which allows FTA to reimburse eligible public transportation capital and operating costs in the event of a federally declared disaster.

A total of $10.9 billion was appropriated for the program under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 29, 2013. However, this funding is now reduced by five percent, or $545 million, because of the mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration that took effect on March 1.

The funds will reimburse for labor, materials and capital costs incurred to protect vehicles, facilities and infrastructure; conduct emergency operations, including temporary transit service and make immediate and permanent repairs, as follows:

• NJ Transit is receiving $144,416,559 for repair and replacement of equipment and facilities that suffered some damage, restoration of bus service and emergency bus and special ferry operations to transport NJ Transit passengers to and from Manhattan until rail service and tunnel operations could be restored. Funds will be used to repair extensive flooding damage to facilities, rail infrastructure and equipment, including Hoboken Yard and Terminal, maintenance facilities and power substations, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line, Newark City Subway Light Rail System, North Jersey Coast Commuter Rail Line and Gladstone Branch Commuter Rail Line.

• PATH is receiving an additional allocation of $18,213,824 following FTA's first allocation of $141,506,347 on March 6. This brings the total amount reimbursed to PATH to $159,720,171. The funds are for efforts undertaken to address the storm's catastrophic impact on commuter rail service between New York and New Jersey (including the Hoboken-World Trade Center and service between Hudson and Essex counties in New Jersey and Manhattan). Funds were expended to set up alternative commuter service; repair electric substations and signal infrastructure; replace and repair rolling stock and repair maintenance facilities.

• New York MTA is receiving an additional allocation of $756,915 following FTA's first allocation of $193,136,983 on March 6. This brings the total amount reimbursed to the MTA to $193,893,898. The funds are 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.

• The city of Long Beach is receiving $518,364 for emergency protective measures taken, such as evacuating residents to shelters, moving transit equipment to protect against the storm and providing additional transit service in place of the disabled Long Island Rail Road.

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