With the second anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaching, federal officials Monday announced billions of dollars in funding for transit projects, much of it headed for the city. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
The South Ferry subway station after Sandy was knocked out of commission by flood waters, and it remains closed today. Federal officials say help is on the way, though.
“The investments we’re making today will reduce the chance that a future storm will wreak this kind of havoc,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Monday, federal transportation officials, joined by city officials and several New York members of Congress, announced $3.6 billion in resiliency funding for transit projects, about $1.9 billion of it here in New York. To protect equipment here at South Ferry and elsewhere, street-level openings that allow water in will get flood covers.
A White House official framed the announcement as part of President Obama’s climate change strategy.
“We need to take action on climate change, because it’s going to cost us if we don’t. The scene here at South Ferry during Sandy showed us what stands to happen to more of our communities in the future," said Counselor to the President John Podesta.
As part of the funding, $191 million will be going to the city Department of Transportation, which will be purchasing two new Staten Island ferry boats—more modern and storm-resilient, capable of carrying out large-scale evacuations—as well as performing resiliency upgrades to its two ferry terminals.
Among some $1.6 billion dollars in Metropolitan Transportation Authority projects are $617 million to mitigate flooding at 10 subway rail yards, $112 million to harden substations, $75 million to upgrade emergency communications and $24 million to increase pumping capacity.
Foxx says these projects may not be glamorous glamorous, but that they are necessary.
“Many of them will be invisible to many riders. But they will give this region a fighting chance to withstand the kind of punishment that Mother Nature can mete out,” he said.
Meanwhile, $137 million will go to improvements along the A train in the Rockaways, where service was cut off entirely.
“That was shut down for seven months. And what this will do is to prevent that from happening in the future,” said Queens City Councilman Gregory Meeks.
Progress though, won’t come overnight; those two new ferryboats aren’t expected in the water until 2019.