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Queens Chronicle

Feds approve Sandy mass transit aid

$2 billion initial funding to repair, protect equipment, infrastructure

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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013 10:30 am

The Federal Transit Administration has earmarked $2 billion from the recently approved Hurricane Sandy relief package for repairs and upgrades to mass transit systems in the New York area.

Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) said Tuesday that the money will be used to protect, repair, reconstruct and replace transit facilities and equipment that were damaged or destroyed by the storm.

It is the first installment of a planned $10.9 billion that will be awarded by the FTA.

“Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc upon our public transit system, and much of it continues to be in need of repairs and new equipment,” Meng said Tuesday in a statement released by her office.

“These critical funds are crucial to getting our transit infrastructure back to where it was before the storm struck,” she added.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority shut down all mass transit the evening of Sunday, Oct. 28 in anticipation of the storm, which hit with its full fury on Monday night.

Subway and car tunnels were flooded. Some NYC Transit bus routes were up within 24 hours but others remained out for days. Subways did not begin returning to normal until late Wednesday night and into early Thursday morning.

Some subway stations and equipment in Lower Manhattan were out of commission for weeks.

And the North Channel rail bridge, which connects the Rockaways to mainland Queens via the A train, remains out of service while whole stretches are repaired or replaced, a process that could continue into spring and beyond.

Meng said the new federal money would come in the form of grants which municipalities that operate mass transit will need to apply for.

In the case of the MTA, which is a state agency, the application will have to come from officials in Albany.

“We’re working with Gov. Cuomo’s office and the U.S. Department of Transportation to secure the necessary funds to rebuild our system and build it back stronger,” said Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the MTA, on Tuesday.

Calls to Cuomo’s Manhattan press office were not returned by the Chronicle’s deadline on Wednesday.

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