In a followup to the story of the U.S. District Court’s decision to cap the payout at $125M for Amtrak for superstorm Sandy damage, Senator Chuck Schumer is seeking $550M in unused superstorm Sandy funds to help Amtrak fund its proposed project to fix the East River tunnels. Newsday Transit Reporter Alfonso A. Castillo has more:
Sen. Chuck Schumer has asked federal officials to use $550 million in untapped Sandy aid to help pay for repairs to the badly damaged East River tunnels primarily used by the Long Island Rail Road.
In a letter written Saturday, Schumer urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate to tap $800 million of unobligated federal superstorm Sandy funding to help pull Amtrak, which owns the tunnels, out of the fiscal jam caused by a recent federal court decision.
In his letter, Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the court decision could cause Amtrak to delay repairs “for a number of years” as it waits for a decision on an appeal. That could also set back the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s East Side Access project to link the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal. Amtrak and MTA officials have said the schedules of the two projects need to be closely coordinated.
“This is simply unacceptable,” Schumer wrote. “Both projects — the repair of the East River Tubes and the East Side Access project — are simply too important to Long Island, NYC, New Jersey and all of the New York metro region to be placed into jeopardy.”
Click here for the complete report.
While I don’t agree with a lot of Senator Schumer’s positions, I give him a lot of credit for stepping up & fighting for funding of such an important transit infrastructure project. He unlike many other elected officials in our area at least understands that our region needs proper funding to help build & maintain arguably the world’s most important transit infrastructure.
xoxo Transit Blogger