US Government Invests $1.9 Billion in New York Storm Protection

The US Federal Government is expected to give more than US$1.9 billion to New York State. The money will be used to fund a project to prepare the state’s infrastructure to better resist severe storms.
The money is being provide by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and totals US$1.915 billion. Of this money, the considerable majority (US$1.6 billion) will be used to fund projects managed by the Metropolitan Transport Authority. A further US$212 million will fund projects that will be managed by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and US$200 million will be supplied to projects undertaken by the New York City Department of Transportation.
damage Hurrican Sandy
Damage from Hurricane Sandy to house in Brooklyn, NY [Image Source]
On the level of individual projects, the largest single slice of the funds will be allocated to efforts to mitigate the danger that flooding poses to rail yards. This project learns from the effects of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy, which resulted in a tidal surge that had a devastating impact on rail yards throughout the state. Track, switches, power lines and communications systems were damaged. In some cases, flooding extended into tunnels where further damage was caused. This project aims to give added protection to ten of New York State’s rail yards, and help prevent a disaster from happening on quite such a large scale again. As well as improved protection from flooding, the project will aim to improve drainage and expand pumping capabilities to mitigate the risk posed by flooding that does get through perimeter barriers.
The Metropolitan Transport Authority will also utilise US$301 million to improve protection of subway openings at street level. Just within Lower Manhattan, over 500 openings have been identified that are at risk. While these entrances are obviously necessary to provide public access, they allowed the system to be flooded by millions of gallons during Superstorm Sandy. The project will provide flood covers so that, if a major storm hits and the system is at risk of flooding, these vulnerable entrances can be temporarily closed off.
According to the State of New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, “Superstorm Sandy taught us the importance of preparing for the worst and the need to reimagine our state to meet the challenges of a changing climate.” Cuomo said that the FTA funding would enable New York State to be more resilient when faced with major storms in the future, and to carry out rebuilding efforts more effectively.
Thomas Prendergast, CEO and chairman of the Metropolitan Transport Authority, also expressed his delight at the project. Prendergast said: “With each passing day, the MTA puts Superstorm Sandy further behind us as we restore service and repair our infrastructure. But we also know that similar events are ahead, so we are building back better, making our transportation network stronger, more resistant to major storms and thus more resilient.”
Matthew Scott