Tropical Storm Irene, which devastated other parts of the northeast and New England a year ago today, largely spared NYC, which braced for an impact that wasn't nearly as dreadful as expected. But the preparations for the storm, the ensuing loss of revenue, and severe damage to rail lines outside the city ended up costing the MTA a pretty penny. The Authority claims it incurred $65 million in losses due to flood and wind damage to the regional transit infrastructure related to Irene. And it wants the federal government to help with the bill.
Yesterday the MTA submitted its FEMA and insurance claims to recover the $65 million, which, on the bright side, is half what the MTA feared the storm would cost. So far FEMA has approved $27.7 million, and an MTA spokesman said in a statement that FEMA typically reimburses about 75% of approved costs. The remaining $37.3 million will hopefully come from insurance companies, which have already made a $5 million advanced payment.
Preparation for the storm included relocating the subway and bus fleets from flood-prone areas, and dispatching city buses to evacuate residents in flood-prone areas. New York City Transit’s claim for losses is approximately $22 million, including $8 million in overtime spent preparing for the storm and $14 million in lost revenue when service was suspended for the first time ever. (Across the entire system, that is.) Tolls waived on the bridges and tunnels also cost the MTA some $9 million.
The Metro-North Port Jervis Line was the worst hit, when the Ramapo River flooded miles of track and left some dangling in mid-air after it receded. (The MTA seeks $21 million to cover repairs there.) And several million is being requested to cover damage from mudslides on the Hudson Line, including one in Riverdale that required the long-term evacuation of an apartment building, according to the MTA.