Sandy funds sought to harden Penn Station, say officials

The MTA and other public transportation providers in

The MTA and other public transportation providers in the region will apply for federal Sandy dollars to pay for several projects aimed at shoring up Penn Station and its supporting infrastructure, officials said. (Credit: Craig Ruttle)

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The MTA and other public transportation providers in the region will this week apply for federal Sandy dollars to pay for several projects aimed at shoring up Penn Station and its supporting infrastructure, officials said Thursday.

Facing a Friday deadline to apply for their share of $3 billion in aid earmarked for infrastructure resiliency projects, the agencies will propose a "River to Resiliency" effort led by the Long Island Rail Road to protect tunnels feeding into Penn Station and train yards on Manhattan's West Side and in Sunnyside, Queens, from floodwaters, according to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority also will seek more resilient "high-density" train signals inside the East River rail tunnels and new perimeter protection for ventilation shafts, Schumer said.

The MTA would not confirm Thursday which projects it will include in its application to the Federal Transit Administration, but has previously said it will seek federal funding for flood mitigation measures in the East River tunnels and its New York City rail yards.

On Oct. 29, 2012, superstorm Sandy devastated Penn's support system, sending 12 feet of water into tunnels and destroying critical electrical components.

Schumer and officials with Amtrak and New Jersey Transit said other projects being submitted for federal funding include extending a concrete casing under 11th Avenue that will house a future tunnel under the Hudson River; relocating equipment, including a generator, a substation and an elevator machine room; and waterproofing 100-year-old steel structures at the adjacent Farley Post Office Building that will house the future Moynihan Amtrak Station. Another proposal includes creating a new microgrid electrical system for NJ Transit.

"The bottom line is, if these projects are funded, we can stop Penn from flooding," said Schumer, adding that he asked the agencies to work together on their proposals for hardening Penn Station. "This is the biggest transit hub in the country and it's worth spending this money to keep it above water."

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