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MTA Estimates Sandy Took $5 Billion Swipe At Budget

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TWC News: MTA Estimates Sandy Took $5 Billion Swipe At Budget
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Friday that Hurricane Sandy cost the agency around $5 billion in damages. NY1's Bobby Cuza has the story.

With all the fanfare over subway service being restored faster than expected after Hurricane Sandy, it was perhaps overlooked that the MTA suffered catastrophic losses.

“The damages sustained by the under-river tunnels on the New York City transit side, the two vehicular tunnels on bridges and tunnels side, are ones that are going to cost us tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars to fix," acting MTA Executive Director Thomas Prendergast said.

The agency estimates its losses at $5 billion. Infrastructure damage accounted for $4.75 billion while revenue losses and increased operating costs made up another $246 million.

There's also $4.1 billion in mitigation measures to protect against future storms.

Agency officials told a state Assembly committee Friday they hope insurance and FEMA will cover most of their losses, but still anticipate about $950 million in uncovered costs.

They say Sandy-related costs won’t result in fare hikes, but a federal funding shortfall would create problems.

"The federal government has to give us these funds," Brooklyn Assemblyman James Brennan said. "If they don’t, the financial impact on the people of the City of New York who use the system, and all of us as taxpayers as well as riders, is going to be devastating.”

To help the agency’s finances, Brennan has proposed a $2 billion bond issue that would be repaid by state taxpayers, not by MTA riders.

But a bond issue would have to be approved by voters in a referendum this November.

“By doing that, we can mitigate future fare hikes and prevent the MTA from going off its own fiscal cliff," Brennan said.

Meanwhile, the agency also said in the wake of two recent pushing deaths, it will explore the possibility of building platform-edge barriers like those on the AirTrain. Officials say they'd consider a pilot program at a station on the L train.

But retrofitting the entire system could cost more than $1 billion.

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