Between last week’s deadly crash in Valhalla and reports of loose bolts on their M8 trains, Metro-North hasn’t had a great start to 2015. But two of Westchester’s representatives, joined by New York State Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D) and Chuck Schumer (D), want to reverse Metro-North’s luck with the announcement of a $100 million investment.
The money is part of a $757 million grant to the Metropolitan Transit Authority allocated through the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration. The funds are from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, a bill passed by Congress in January 2013 that provided $60 billion in aid to communities affected by Hurricane Sandy.
In addition to fixing the immediate damage following Superstorm Sandy, Metro-North officials have identified areas that are most vulnerable to weather and are developing proactive measures to prevent damage to equipment and ensure commuter safety. This grant is aimed at long-term recovery and resiliency projects.
“We need to make sure that New York taxpayers and the commuters who rely on Metro-North to get to work every day aren’t stuck footing the bill alone,“ said Senator Gillibrand. “This funding will help ease that burden and will also help build back our transportation infrastructure even stronger so we are prepared when the next storm hits.”
MTA’s project list includes upgrades and protection of existing infrastructure, restoration of signal, track, and communication infrastructure in tunnels, restoration of circuit breaker houses and power infrastructure for MTA operating agencies, repair of damage to communication and signal equipment along branch lines and storage yards, and funding for integrity monitoring of the MTA operating agencies.
Representative Sean Maloney (D), who represents parts of Westchester and Dutchess counties, as well as Putnam and Orange counties, agreed with Metro-North officials.
“Thousands of commuters in the Hudson Valley rely on Metro-North; we can’t wait for the next major natural disaster to invest in significant infrastructure upgrades for New York’s transportation system,” Maloney said. “After suffering significant damages in Hurricane Sandy, these long-term investments will help make Metro-North more resilient for years to come.”
The announcement of this grant comes at a crucial time for Metro-North as Westchester representatives look to take action in the wake of the Valhalla crash that killed six people last week.
Nevertheless, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D), who represents White Plains, is optimistic.
“I will continue to work with my New York delegation colleagues and local officials to ensure New Yrok’s resiliency and infrastructure needs are met,” Lowey said.