For $34, you too can dress like MTA chair Joe Lhota. Note: the catwalk is his actual office. (Photo courtesy of NY MTA)
You can ride the H train for free -- but the shirt is a different story.
On Tuesday, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority launched the Rockaways Collection -- shirts, magnets, and pins branded with the logo of the shuttle now plying the heavily damaged Queens neighborhood.
The MTA says all profits from the sales will go to the Graybeards, a Rockaways non-profit helping rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. Products will be sold through the New York Transit Museum.
But can the MTA afford to give away money? The transit agency sustained $5 billion in damages from Sandy. It will cost $650 million alone just to restore A train service from mainland Queens to the Rockaways. It had to truck subway cars out to the neighborhood just to operate the free H train shuttle service.
An MTA spokesman says yes.
"We have a financial plan," says Aaron Donovan. “We will have money available through issuing short-term notes to restore the service and we expect to be reimbursed by FEMA and our insurance.”
The MTA announced last week it was taking on debt to pay for Sandy damages and will issue $950 million in bonds. At that time, chairman Joe Lhota said he had "an enormous amount of confidence" that the MTA would receive "a substantial amount of money" from the federal government.
Since then, both New York City's mayor and the state's governor have gone to Washington to make the case for federal aid.
To learn more about the H train, and to watch a video of how the MTA got subway cars out to the Rockaways, go here.