Friday, May 03, 2013

Sandy disaster relief funds released to Amtrak

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
The Federal Railroad Administration has released $30.2 million in appropriations to Amtrak to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to the Northeast Corridor line.
The funding comes from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, which President Obama signed into law on Jan. 29, 2013. The total FRA appropriation related to Amtrak’s recovery from Sandy was $32 million.

The funding reimburses Amtrak for $20.1 million for expenses associated with pumping water from tunnels and debris removal and for immediate and ongoing repairs to vital infrastructure needed to operate more than 2,000 daily Amtrak, NJ Transit, and MTA Long Island Rail Road trains on the NEC. The remaining $10.1 million will fund repairs to the four East River Tunnels that connect Manhattan and Queens, the two North (Hudson) River Tunnels that connect New Jersey and New York City, and other facilities.

Hurricane Sandy’s enormous storm surge flooded four of the six tunnels between New York City and New Jersey with seawater. Immense amounts of water and debris were removed from the tunnels, and system-wide repairs had to be completed before service could be restored. The most critical damage was to electrical systems, particularly the Kearny (N.J.) substation, plus signals, lighting, mechanical rooms, and emergency call boxes. The damage was caused by wind, heavy rains, and saltwater.

Additional repairs to rail, ties, ballast, third rail, signal systems, pump stations, circuit breakers, and vital infrastructure are on-going and are expected to continue throughout the summer months.

“The storm’s wake demonstrates the necessity to not only rebuild, but to invest in our infrastructure so we are better prepared to withstand and recover from future natural disasters,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo.