Cuomo announces $4.9B plan to bolster transportation

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced a $4.9 billion plan to bolster the transportation network following Superstorm Sandy and to provide Metro-North a new way into Manhattan.

The administration will send the proposal for MTA and Port Authority projects to the Federal Transportation Administration this week.

"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 in a statement.

MTA projects, projected to cost nearly $3.9 billion, make up a bulk of the resiliency program. The most expensive project, at $516 million, is providing Metro-North a new way to access Manhattan by letting New Haven line trains run on an Amtrak line into Penn Station, in case a storm or disaster knocks the only link into Grand Central Terminal.

Other projects in the resiliency plan include protecting Long Island Rail Road tunnels, street-level openings, subway stations and equipment and train yards.

The Cuomo administration is seeking to tap into $3 billion of federal funding for transportation resiliency projects in the northeast and mid-Atlantic.

"These are vital projects and I will fight as hard as I can to squeeze every drop of money from the feds to build them," Sen. Charles Schumer said in a statement.

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The Straphangers Campaign's Gene Russianoff approved of Cuomo's projects, citing those that protect tunnels, yards and depots and improve the subway system's ability to pump out water. "This is a serious plan to address a very serious problem. It should get serious attention in Washington," he said.

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