New York isn’t taking its chances with future superstorms. On Wednesday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled a $4.9 billion plan to protect vital NYC transportation infrastructure from extreme weather (which scientists say will only occur more frequently going forward because of climate change). The MTA and Port Authority projects would harden infrastructure and improve transit network resiliency to better ensure that commuter railroad access into and out of Manhattan is not disrupted during severe storms.
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“Our response to the billions in damage Superstorm Sandy caused our transportation system is to build back stronger, better and smarter than before,” Cuomo said. “These projects build on the State’s commitment to transforming our infrastructure, transportation networks, energy supply, and coastal protections to better protect New Yorkers from future disaster.”
Other key elements of the plan include protecting subway yards and bus depots from flooding, sealing entrances to subway tunnels and ventilation plants, mitigating flood risks at the World Trade Center site, upgrading Port Authority Bus Terminal operations to increase bus service in case of rail outages, improving the PATH rapid transit line through Manhattan, the John F. Kennedy International Airport AirTrain station at Howard Beach in Queens and the Staten Island Railway.
The plan will be submitted this week to the Federal Transit Administration for approval. The agency has already made available $3 billion for resiliency programs in the region impacted by Sandy.
Cuomo has launched other projects to prepare New York for more extreme weather. The state is currently building the most advanced weather detection system in the nation, which includes 125 interconnected weather stations that will provide real-time warnings of local extreme weather and flooding conditions. New York is also launching the country’s first College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity. Natural infrastructure improvements are being made along coastal areas as well to protect New York’s coastline from rising sea levels and flooding from extreme weather.
“Superstorm Sandy highlighted serious deficiencies in our public transportation system, and now, Governor Cuomo is taking strong, decisive action to address these vulnerabilities. These projects will help ensure New York City’s vital transportation needs will remain operational and reliable in the face of future emergencies,” said Congressman Eliot Engel.