United States Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Counselor to the President John Podesta, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Congress Member Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan/Brooklyn), Congress Member Gregory W. Meeks (D-Queens), Congress Member Joseph Crowley (D-Queens/Bronx) and Congress Member Grace Meng (D-Queens) today announced that New York City was awarded $191 million in Federal Transit Administration funds as a result of its application to the FTA Hurricane Sandy Competitive Resilience Program. The funds will be used to construct two new 4,500 passenger Staten Island ferry boats, as part of the process of updating the aging fleet with modern, storm resilient vessels, capable of operating during large scale evacuations.
“We’ve made great progress rebuilding critical transit connections since Hurricane Sandy, and we want to make sure no one pays for these repairs twice,” said Secretary Foxx. “While no one can predict the future with certainty, we believe these investments will help to harden transit facilities against future storms that Mother Nature dishes out, reducing the risk of service disruptions and the extent of damage to some of the nation’s busiest rail and bus services.”
“This funding will provide better ferry service for the 22 million passengers who ride the Staten Island Ferry every year, and better prepare New York City for future storms,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “On behalf of our dedicated Ferry division and the commuters and tourists who ride the ferry every single day, I want to thank Secretary Foxx, USDOT, Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and our congressional delegation for their support in making our ferry system safer and more resilient.”
The design for the new vessels is now beginning and this funding enables construction to proceed in 2017. These modern vessels will be able to function through a wider spectrum of conditions and be able to dock at more locations than the current fleet is capable of doing. These functions will greatly enhance the City’s response to emergencies and participation in evacuations. The funding also allows for the City, via the NYC Economic Development Corporation and NYC DOT, to modify ferry landings in vital locations to accommodate these modernized vessels and support other public transit services impacted by outages, a component of the City’s Sustainability& Resiliency plan and NYC DOT’s Comprehensive Ferry Transit Resiliency plan.
“We must continue to fight for all those who suffered from Superstorm Sandy, and I will continue to ensure that the federal government does its part to help us full recover,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), the highest ranking Northeast Democrat on the House Transportation Committee. “Today’s announcement is another step in the right direction. I thank Secretary Foxx and all my other colleagues in making sure that New Yorkers get everything we need to rebuild from the destruction of Superstorm Sandy and prepare for the next natural disaster.”
“I am delighted to stand with Secretary Foxx and my fellow colleagues in Congress to announce 3.3 billion in Sandy related competitive grants that have been awarded to New York and New Jersey representing over 90 percent of the grant funding administered by the U.S Department of Transportation,” stated US Representative Gregory W. Meeks. “These grants will provide critical resources for the 5th Congressional District, New York City, and state to improve our transportation infrastructure, and build resiliency across our transportation system.”
“While we continue to help communities across New York recover from the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy, it is equally as important to make the proper investments in our infrastructure to ensure our city is prepared to face the challenges of any future storms,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “This much-needed funding will go a long way toward protecting our waterway transportation means so that New Yorkers can remain connected especially in the aftermath of a natural disaster.”
“I want to thank Secretary Foxx for coming to New York and announcing this important allocation of money to New York City,” said Congress Member Grace Meng (D-Queens). “I have no doubt that these dollars will go a long way in protecting our transportation systems from future natural disaster. I am proud to have played a role in advocating for these essential projects.”
The generous funding will also provide for resilience upgrades at the St. George and Whitehall terminals and the Staten Island Ferry Maintenance Facility, all of which sustained considerable damage during Sandy.
The Staten Island Ferry’s nine-vessel fleet serves 22 million passengers each year.
A list of all funded resilience projects is available at http://www.fta.dot.gov/15138_16147.html.