Monday, April 01, 2013

Third round of Sandy relief funds released

U.S. Department of Transportation released a third round of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) storm-related reimbursements through the FY 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act.

The majority of the $1.4 billion goes to the four transit agencies that incurred the greatest expenses while preparing for and recovering from Hurricane Sandy, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corp. (PATH), New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) and the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT). The remainder will be allocated to other transit agencies that incurred eligible storm-related expenses but have not yet received funds.

"Shortly after Hurricane Sandy made landfall, President Obama and I promised that we would do everything in our power to bring relief to the hardest-hit communities and that is exactly what we have done," said U. S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "In less than two months' time, we met our commitment to provide $2 billion to more than a dozen transit agencies that suffered serious storm damage and laid the groundwork to continue helping them rebuild stronger than before."

A total of $10.9 billion was appropriated for the disaster relief effort, which is administered through FTA's Emergency Relief Program. This amount was reduced by five percent, or $545 million, because of the mandatory sequestration budget cut that took effect on March 1. Earlier, FTA allocated nearly $554 million of the first $2 billion in aid to reimburse certain transit providers in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. With this third allocation, FTA has now met the 60-day Congressional deadline to get the initial funds out the door in order to reimburse hard-hit transit agencies for expenses incurred while preparing for and recovering from the storm.

The remainder of the $10.9 billion will be utilized for ongoing recovery efforts, as well as to help agencies become more resilient in the face of future storms and disasters. The FTA has published an Interim Final Rule in the Federal Register for FTA's Emergency Relief Program, outlining general requirements that apply to all the funds allocated related to Sandy and future grants awarded under this program.

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