DOT chief: Hurricane Sandy transit recovery ongoing

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Tuesday that the public transit systems in the northeast were still recovering from the damage they sustained last year during Hurricane Sandy.

In a blog post marking the one-year anniversary of the 2012 storm, Foxx said the transportation department has worked to help transit agencies repair damage from Hurricane Sandy and fortify their stations and equipment against future potential storms.

But Foxx said the work was far from over, even as the rare northeast hurricane moves a full year into the rear-view mirror.

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"In the year since Hurricane Sandy, we have worked closely with our state and federal partners to help restore transportation systems in affected states, while also working to ensure that new infrastructure is built to withstand future storms," Foxx wrote.

"Rebuilding damaged roads, bridges, tunnels, and transit lines is no easy task," the DOT chief continued. "And this department has worked hard to speed relief and recovery funds to the state and local agencies doing the heavy lifting. That lifting is the real work, and the men and women doing it deserve our thanks."

Foxx said the transportation department has $1.4 billion in transit recovery projects currently underway.

He touted efforts to restore a line on New York City's subway system that was badly damaged by Sandy.

"I saw the scope of the reconstruction work during a recent visit to the Montague Tunnel, a subway tube that was flooded by Sandy with 27 million gallons of corrosive salt water," Foxx wrote. "The tunnel has been closed since August for significant track work and replacement of lights, signals, and electrical equipment. There's a lot of work to be done in that tunnel. And through the Federal Transit Administration, DOT will contribute $236 million, or about 90 percent of the estimated cost, to get it done."

Foxx urged passengers to patient as northeast transit officials worked to complete the Sandy repairs.

"65,000 people --riders of the "R" train-- are being disrupted by this 14-month project," he said of the New York City project. "And I know there are others whose regular routes and transit service have been disrupted. But every day in the region, some new asset is reopened, and you can rest assured that there are hard-working people on the job doing their best to get your commute back to normal as soon as possible."