NJ Congressional Delegation Makes Case for Robust Superstorm Sandy Transportation Recovery Funding

Feb 9, 2016 Issues: Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey

Bicameral, Bipartisan Letter Precedes Final Federal Allocation of Transit Recovery Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez led the full New Jersey Congressional delegation in a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Acting Administrator Therese McMillan requesting robust funding for New Jersey in the final federal allocation of Superstorm Sandy transit recovery funding. The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.), and U.S. Representatives Chris Smith (N.J.-04), Frank Pallone, Jr. (N.J.-06), Rodney Frelinghuysen (N.J.-11), Frank LoBiondo (N.J.-02) Bill Pascrell (N.J.-09), Albio Sires (N.J.-08), Scott Garrett (N.J.-05), Leonard Lance (N.J.-07), Donald Payne, Jr. (N.J.-10), Donald Norcross (N.J.-01), Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.-12) and Tom MacArthur (N.J.-03).

“New Jersey Transit’s remaining total cost of repair and rebuilding stands at $809 million, leaving a shortfall of $467 million in unmet needs. These unmet needs encompass transit projects that are necessary for mobility, congestion relief, and quality of life throughout the State of New Jersey,” the delegation writes. “We request that you move forward expeditiously with a final allocation of remaining repair and recovery funding that will help New Jersey Transit and other transit agencies complete repairs to damage from the worst mass transit disaster in the nation’s history.”

In 2013, the President signed the Superstorm Sandy Supplemental Appropriations bill into law, bringing the total Sandy aid enacted by Congress to $60.2 billion. The funding package included federal aid to help homeowners, businesses, and communities recover, and resources to rebuild coastal, transportation, and water infrastructure.

Full text of the letter follows and can be downloaded here.

February 8, 2016

 

The Honorable Anthony Foxx

Secretary

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20590

 

The Honorable Therese McMillan

Acting Administrator

Federal Transit Administration

1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE

Washington, DC 20590

 

Dear Secretary Foxx and Administrator McMillan:

As you consider requests for the remaining Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program funds provided through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, we write to request your assistance in advancing critical projects throughout the State of New Jersey. Funds provided would finance projects for the protection, repair, and replacement of New Jersey Transit equipment and facilities that suffered significant damage as a result of Superstorm Sandy.

In a November 5, 2014 Federal Register notice, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) noted that it was reserving $817 million of Emergency Relief Program funds to be allocated based on “[d]amage assessments submitted by affected agencies and reviewed by FTA.”  We are grateful for the $342 million that FTA has already allocated to New Jersey Transit for recovery and repair, and for your counsel and assistance during the preparation and certification of New Jersey Transit’s most recent damage assessment.  As you know, that assessment found that New Jersey Transit’s remaining total cost of repair and rebuilding stands at $809 million, leaving a shortfall of $467 million in unmet needs.

These unmet needs encompass transit projects that are necessary for mobility, congestion relief, and quality of life throughout the State of New Jersey.  This includes the Hudson River Tunnels, which were damaged from salt water inundation during Hurricane Sandy.  Both Amtrak and New Jersey Transit have pledged funds to advance environmental reviews and preliminary engineering to repair the tunnels, but there is an existing shortfall of approximately $35 million.  The Administration’s assistance in addressing this shortfall would further strengthen the federal-State partnership that DOT has helped to develop in support of this project.

Other unmet needs include the repair of switch heaters and remote terminal units damaged by storm surge; restoration of key power systems in Hoboken and at the Meadows Maintenance Complex in Kearny; repair of latent damage to signal and communications cables as well as traction and station power distribution infrastructure on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system; additional repairs to damaged mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems at Hoboken Terminal; addressing damaged signal and control cabling equipment on the Newark Light Rail system; and repair and replacement of the damaged bridge control system at Morgan Draw Bridge. The repair of these assets is essential to ensuring the safe and reliable operation of transit services throughout the State.

Thank you for your leadership in ensuring that transit agencies significantly impacted by Superstorm Sandy are able to fully recover from the storm.  We request that you move forward expeditiously with a final allocation of remaining repair and recovery funding that will help New Jersey Transit and other transit agencies complete repairs to damage from the worst mass transit disaster in the nation’s history.    

Sincerely,