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$336 million in FEMA funds released to fix Sandy-damaged tunnels

Sea water floods the entrance to the Brooklyn

Sea water floods the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel in Manhattan as superstorm Sandy struck the city on Oct. 29, 2012. Credit: AP / John Minchillo

New York's two U.S. senators Thursday announced the release of $336 million in federal superstorm Sandy funding for repairs and improvements to the Hugh L. Carey and Queens-Midtown tunnels.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency dollars will go to repair architectural, mechanical and electrical components of the two tunnels, which serve a combined 116,000 vehicles daily.

The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, formerly known as the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, took in 60 million gallons of floodwaters during the Oct. 29, 2012, superstorm. The Queens-Midtown Tunnel was inundated by another 20 million gallons. It took several days for workers to pump water out of the two passageways.

"I am pleased that FEMA is providing the federal funds needed to make repairs at both of these heavily used, Sandy-damaged MTA tunnels in New York City," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who announced the release of the funds, originally earmarked in April, yesterday with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) "Mitigation measures, like flood walls and elevation of key equipment, will help make sure our critical infrastructure is prepared in the event of a future storm."

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority 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 expedited payments, federal officials said.

The MTA declined to comment Thursday.

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