Friday, March 15, 2013

NJ Transit gets disaster relief funds

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New Jersey's two U.S. Senators late Thursday announced $144.4 million in federal disaster relief for New Jersey Transit, which will be used by the corporation mostly to repair rail facilities and equipment damaged last October by Hurricane Sandy.

Some of the funds will be used to cover costs of temporary bus and ferry service operations that substituted for rail service in the weeks following the storm.

"This federal funding is an important step toward ensuring that NJ Transit has the resources to repair damage, recover costs and rebuild stronger than ever," Sen. Frank Lautenberg said in a statement with New Jersey's senior U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez. "Superstorm Sandy devastated New Jersey's transit systems, which serve commuters from across the state and region. Because transit is critical to the entire region's economy, this funding is essential to a full recovery."

"This funding will allow NJ Transit to pay for some of the costs related to responding to the storm's immediate impact," Menendez said. "But as we continue working toward New Jersey's long-term recovery, we are reminded that it is not enough to simply rebuild what was lost. We need to build better, stronger and smarter so that we can be prepared to protect our transportation resources during future severe weather events, and get New Jersey moving as quickly as possible after they pass."

Of the estimated $450 million in losses sustained by NJ Transit, at least $100 million was due to trains that were left in low-lying railyards in Kearny and Hoboken that were flooded. About 70 locomotives and 272 train cars were damaged; of those, 45 locomotives and 97 train cars have been repaired and again are in operation.

NJ Transit earlier this week announced electric rail service to and from Hoboken, a major rail and transit terminal, will resume March 24.