The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on May 30 awarded approximately $167 million to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and $67 million to New Jersey Transit (NJT) from the FTA’s Emergency Relief Program to help both agencies continue rebuilding and replacing transportation equipment and facilities damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, which triggered the worst transit disaster in U.S. history.
“The U.S. Department of Transportation has worked alongside the Port Authority and New Jersey Transit since Hurricane Sandy made landfall to help the nation’s busiest transit network recover as efficiently as possible,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The funds we’re providing today will go a long way to help these agencies continue rebuilding and strengthening the rail systems, ferry terminals, and local infrastructure that millions of riders depend on every day to get to work, school, and other vital destinations.”
The funds reimburse the Port Authority and NJT for capital projects that are already under way under FTA pre-award authority, while also funding other projects that have not yet moved forward. Altogether, the Port Authority and NJT were allocated $1.36 billion and $448.2 million respectively, for relief and recovery projects through FTA’s Emergency Relief Program.
“One of our highest priorities in the wake of this record-breaking storm is to ensure that the Port Authority and New Jersey Transit — along with other hard-hit agencies, like the New York MTA — are able to fully restore public transit services that are the economic backbone of this entire region,” said FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan. “We will see to it that taxpayer dollars are responsibly spent and that the region’s transit infrastructure is better protected when the next big storm hits.”
The Port Authority funding supports 15 capital projects, such as replacing power, signal, and communications equipment destroyed by the storm; purchasing new locomotives; and acquiring equipment to mitigate damage from future storms, including temporary power substations and water removal systems and barriers.
New Jersey Transit funding supports seven projects, including standing up a new interoperable communications center in Maplewood, NJ, which will serve as a consolidated command and control center for coordinating all NJT functions and improving agency-wide response during a major weather event; repairing and restoring the Newark and Hudson-Bergen light rail lines; dredging storm-deposited silt from the Weehawken Port Imperial Ferry Terminal; and purchasing new fueling trucks that can readily bring fuel to diesel locomotives and other equipment that may be stranded during an emergency.
In December 2013, FTA announced the availability of $3 billion in competitive funding for regional resiliency projects that will better protect existing transit infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Sandy. FTA is currently reviewing 64 proposals totaling more than $6 billion in requests; project selections will be announced later this year.
For all transit agencies eligible to receive Hurricane Sandy aid, FTA has allocated approximately 55 percent of the $10.35 billion available through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.