Federal funds to aid in subway’s Sandy recovery

By Philip Newman

The federal government will provide more than $57 million to help insulate the New York City subways from tremendous damage such as that which occurred when Hurricane Sandy struck nearly three years ago.

“Sandy brought unprecedented damage and disruption to the New York City subway system—but now we are building the system back better and stronger than before,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“This funding helps us move forward with critical upgrades that will keep the system running and keep travelers safe during an emergency. This is about strengthening our infrastructure with the next storm in mind and I am thankful for the support of our federal partners in this effort.”

When Sandy struck the New York City metropolitan area Oct. 29, 2012, it left monumental damage to the New York City subways from a storm surge that flooded subway tunnels. The highly corrosive saltwater flooded subway tunnels, including rooms housing electric equipment such as signals, relays and communications.

MTA officials said the superstorm exposed a need for better and faster ways for transit officials to communicate with crew members and straphangers in emergencies.

They said that even after three years and thousands of hours of labor repairing and restoring service to pre-Sandy levels, the subway system has yet to really recover with many Sandy-related repairs yet to be made.

“These federal grants enable New York City Transit’s recovery from a devastating storm by funding critical improvements and repairs for a system that moves six million people a day,” said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast.

“The MTA’s goal is to make the subway system stronger and more resilient than ever if and when we face another historic storm like Sandy,” Prendergast said. “To do that we look to our federal partners to help us protect a trillion-dollar asset that powers the New York region and we thank the FTA for acknowledging how vitally important the New York subway system is to the city and its people.”

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) said, “the MTA storm resiliency projects announced by Gov. Cuomo will go a long way to restore and improve the transit system to a level of quality that surpasses the pre-Sandy standards.”

U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) also welcomed the funds.

“Hurricane Sandy’s devastating impact on our city’s infrastructure cannot be overstated,” he said. “These much needed federal grants will go a long way toward improving and protecting our subways from future storms.”