The governor plans to submit the plan to the Federal Transit Administration, which has made $3 billion available for resiliency programs in regions affected by Hurricane Sandy. The New York plan includes projects worth $4.9 billion. The state’s applications exceed available federal funding because the projects represent the extensive need New York faces in trying to protect its vital infrastructure, said Cuomo in a press release.
At Cuomo’s direction, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Moynihan Station Development Corp. jointly prepared a plan that considered transportation needs and priorities on a regional level to protect against stronger and more frequent storms in the future.
A key element of the plan is protecting commuter-rail access into Manhattan, by hardening Penn Station’s existing rail service and providing alternate service to Penn Station for MTA Metro-North Railroad riders in the event of a single-point failure along its network through upper Manhattan and the Bronx.
“Our response to the billions in damage Superstorm Sandy caused our transportation system is to build back stronger, better and smarter than before,” Cuomo said in a press release. “These projects build on the state’s commitment to transforming our infrastructure, transportation networks, energy supply, and coastal protections to better protect New Yorkers from future disaster.”
The Penn Station access would give Metro-North an alternate means to enter midtown Manhattan if its four-track mainline through the Bronx or the Harlem River Lift Bridge were disrupted for a prolonged period. An outage would halt commuter-rail service in New York’s northern suburbs and southeastern Connecticut, with a devastating impact on the regional economy, said Cuomo. The project’s estimated cost is $516 million, of which $387 million is eligible for federal funding.
The River-to-River Rail Resiliency project would protect the East River Tunnels and Penn Station, which are used by MTA Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. The project’s estimated cost is $321 million, of which $241 million is eligible for federal funding.
The plan also proposes to harden other infrastructure and improve network resiliency for all forms of transit in New York. Other projects would mitigate flood risk at MTA New York City Transit subway yards and bus depots by hardening structures; seal entrances to subway tunnels and ventilation plants; and make the World Trade Center site more resilient against water intrusion.
In addition, the governor’s plan includes projects designed to improve the PATH rapid transit line through Manhattan, the John F. Kennedy International Airport AirTrain station at Howard Beach in Queens and the Staten Island Railway.