FEMA to give MTA $403M for East River tunnel fixes, improvements

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will award the MTA $403 million for its efforts to repair and strengthen two key East River tunnels that were flooded during superstorm Sandy, federal officials said Wednesday.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will receive $329 million for fixes to its Hugh Carey/Brooklyn Battery and Queens-Midtown tunnels, and another $74.5 million for flood-control projects.

Those include the construction of new flood walls at tunnel plazas and other facilities, elevation of mechanical equipment, installation of submersible pumps and flood-proofing of some areas inside the tunnels.


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"As a result of this investment, we will be able to rebuild and modernize two of the most vital arteries -- not only in New York but in all of America -- better and stronger than they were before Sandy," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a sponsor of the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act, under which the funding was authorized.

"When we drafted the Sandy legislation, it was this type of damage and this comprehensive type of reimbursement that we had in mind," he said.

The MTA and FEMA settled on the amount of funding as part of a new pilot program under which municipalities agree on a cap for reimbursable costs in exchange for expediting payments, federal officials said.

The grant will allow the MTA to "permanently repair" the two passageways and "add additional safety measures," FEMA said in a statement.

FEMA had previously provided the MTA $3 million in Sandy funding, and the Federal Transit Administration provided another $1.2 billion, federal officials said.The MTA did not respond to a request for comment.

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