“We’re examining ways to raise up the substations,” Williams said. If we’re going to rebuild and replace a substation, we’ve got to get it onto higher terrain.”
Although SEPTA was spared significant damage from the storm, Michael Monastero, chief engineering officer for communications and signals said the storm shows the importance for systems to get out and prepare for major storms and flooding by removing equipment.
“What you see is a lot of damage in their switch motors that went underwater in locations that went underwater and close to the flooding along the river,” he said. “If we see that there is a possibility of flooding and water going above the flood plains, one of the things we do now is go out and take all of the electric motors out and get them out of harm’s way.”
The initial estimates for damage to the New Jersey system was $400 million; roughly $325 million to $350 million was damage to equipment and the rest lost revenues. Despite the hefty price tag, money hasn’t been an issue so far with FEMA and the Federal Transit Administration helping in the recovery.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie placed estimates of $36 billion in damage to the entire state due to the hurricane, of which Weinstein said $1.2 billion is expected to be needed for the transit system because on top of the $400 million in damage from the storm, it has been estimated that it will take another roughly $800 million to “harden” the system and make it more resilient to storms like Sandy.
“New Jersey as a state — not as a region — but as a state, has the highest amount of transit ridership with 10 percent taking public transportation,” Weinstein said. “It seems like a lot and when you experience what happens when there’s not the transit systems in the state, people were forced to try and drive into Manhattan and the system collapsed.”