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Transportation Resiliency Program announced to protect MTA and Port Authority against future storms

ALBANY – A coordinated transportation resiliency program to help prepare the region for future emergencies, reduce the impact of future storms on vital transportation infrastructure, and improve the long-term reliability and resiliency of the public transportation network was announced on Thursday.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) and the Moynihan Station Development Corporation (MSDC) worked together to prepare a plan that considered transportation needs and priorities on a regional level, in order to protect against stronger and more frequent storms in the future.

A key element of the plan is protecting commuter railroad access into Manhattan, by hardening Penn Station’s existing railroad service and providing alternate service to Penn Station for MTA Metro-North Railroad customers in the event of a single-point failure along its existing 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,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “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 plan will be submitted this week to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which has made $3 billion available for resiliency programs throughout the region affected by 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.

The Penn Station Access Network Resiliency effort would give Metro-North an alternate means to enter midtown Manhattan if its four-track main line through the Bronx or the Harlem River Lift Bridge were ever disrupted for a prolonged period. An outage there would halt commuter rail travel in New York’s northern suburbs and southeastern Connecticut, with a devastating impact on the regional economy. It has a $516 million estimated cost, of which $387 million is eligible for federal funding.

The River-to-River Rail Resiliency effort would protect the East River Tunnels and Penn Station, used by the MTA Long Island Rail Road as well as Amtrak and NJ Transit. It has a $321 million estimated cost, of which $241 million is eligible for federal funding.

The plan also hardens infrastructure and improves network resiliency for all forms of transit in New York. Other projects would mitigate flood risk at New York City Transit subway yards and bus depots by hardening structures; seal entrances to subway tunnels and ventilation plants; make the World Trade Center site more resilient against water intrusion; and enhance Port Authority Bus Terminal operations to provide alternate service during rail outages.

The plan also includes projects 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.

The transportation projects being submitted to the FTA are listed below in priority order for the MTA and the Port Authority. All were prepared using a comprehensive inventory and risk assessment to identify vulnerable assets and protect critical services. These projects are consistent with recommendations in numerous reports issued by city, state and national organizations aimed at improving the resilience of infrastructure, and will be coordinated with other regional priorities, including those funded by other Federal agencies.