With one eye on rebuilding in the aftermath of natural disasters, and another on improving New York’s storm resiliency, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week that certain state and city agencies will receive more than $1.9 billion in federal funds.
Of the $1.915 billion in funding from the Federal Transit Administration, approximately $1.6 billion supports projects managed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and approximately $212 million supports projects managed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The city Department of Transportation is also expected to receive approximately $200 million.
Cuomo said it’s all about adapting to the “new reality” of extreme weather events.
“Superstorm Sandy taught us the importance of preparing for the worst and the need to reimagine our state to meet the challenges of a changing climate,” said Cuomo, a borough native. “Over the past few years we’ve focused on everything from storm-proofing homes and electrical stations to protecting subway entrances and other vital infrastructure from the effects of major flooding. This funding will ensure that our State has the resources it needs to continue building back stronger and better than ever before.”
The MTA, which received the bulk of the funds, has myriad projects—many which directly impact the borough—that will be completed with the help of the FTA, including:
Rockaway Line storm protections: Work to date includes a steel seawall to protect against future storm surges. However, two flood prone stations and other assets critical to the Rockaway Line require protection and flood mitigation: Howard Beach Station and Broad Channel Station, the right of way between the stations and related substations and a relay room. Further improvements will include a new signaled crossover at Beach 105 Street Station to provide service flexibility after storms.
Long Island City Yard resiliency: The yard was restored to service following Sandy with temporary measures, but requires permanent protections and repairs in order to be relied upon by the total daily Long Island Rail Road ridership of approximately 250,000 commuters.
Protection of tunnel portals and internal tunnel sealing: The project will prevent incursion of water through three vulnerable tunnel portals—148th Yard in Manhattan, 207th Street Yard in Manhattan and Hunters Point, as well as an internal stairway at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue that is subject to flooding.
River to river rail resiliency for Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak: The project is a joint effort by two of the nation’s largest railroads with the support of New Jersey Transit to protect the rail tunnels and yard system that serve the railroads and ensure the connectivity of service on both commuter railroads and the entire northeast corridor. The affected assets range from the western portals of the North River Tunnels in Weehawken to the eastern portals of the East River Tunnels in Queens and include Penn Station and the West Side Yards.
By Michael V. Cusenza