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Sandy

Transportation Nation

Officials: As Construction Site, World Trade Center Vulnerable To Floods

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

One World Trade Center with 9/11 in the foreground. (photo by melfoody / Flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) A Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official says a built-out World Trade Center site will be less vulnerable to future storms like Sandy once construction is done by 2020. But the authority hasn't decided what to do in the meantime to protect the site from rising tides.

Construction sites that include open pits, as does the 16-acre World Trade Center site, are vulnerable to flooding. And much of the site is built on landfill where the Hudson River once flowed--and would flow again if not for retaining walls.

But Port Authority executive director Pat Foye wouldn't elaborate on what steps could be taken to protect the site from flooding while under construction, and harden the site once construction is done in an age of climate change and rising sea levels.

"Port Authority people and outside experts are looking at how to make the site more resilient," Foye said. He wouldn't give details about possible mitigation efforts beyond saying, "The review continues."

Foye estimated it will cost $2 billion to repair storm damage to the World Trade Center, along with the rest of the authority's facilities, including airports, bridges and tunnels. Foye said $800 million alone is needed to fix the PATH train system, which only recently returned some of its lines to a pre-Sandy schedule.

Foye said insurance reimbursements and FEMA payments should cover those costs."There will be no material impact on the budget," he said.

Still under construction in Lower Manhattan is One World Trade Center, which carries a price tag of $3.8 billion, making it the world's most expensive new office tower. To offset the costs of the 1,776-foot skyscraper, the authority last year levied higher bridge and tunnel tolls and reduced spending on transportation infrastructure.

One World Trade Center is scheduled to be done by early next year. But some part of the larger World Trade Center site will be under construction, and vulnerable to flooding, for at least the next eight years.

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WNYC News

First of Sandy Aid Spelled Out for NY, NJ

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

WNYC

U.S. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan, the so-called Sandy Czar, traveled to a pizza parlor on Staten Island's hard-hit eastern shore Wednesday to announce how the federal government's divvying up $5.6 billion in federal Sandy aid. It'll be split roughly equally among New Jersey, New York state, and New York City.

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WNYC News

FCC Holds Hearings on Communication Failures During Sandy

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Federal Communications Commission held its first hearings into telecommunication failures during Sandy in Lower Manhattan Tuesday.

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WNYC News

Mayor Iffy on Cuomo Sandy Buyout Proposal

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Governor Cuomo's proposal to use federal Sandy aid to buy out Sandy-damaged homes will likely need Mayor Bloomberg's assent. So far, he hasn't given it.

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Transportation Nation

LaHood: There's a "Sense of Urgency" on Transit Aid

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Ray LaHood (photo by Martin DiCaro)

(Alec Hamilton-WNYC News) U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood says area transit agencies should be able to be ready to withstand future storms.

"Nobody's sitting around,” LaHood told WNYC's Soterios Johnson. "There's a sense of urgency about getting this done, getting it done the right way, making sure that it's done correctly -- and making sure that it's done in a way that will withhold the kind of storm that hit the region during Sandy."

On Monday the Federal Transit Administration said it would start releasing  $2 billion of the $10.9 billion in transit aid voted into law last week.

New Jersey has requested $1.2 billion of that aid, New York close to $5 billion.  Neither agency has released a complete breakdown of how those funds would be spent.

 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Flood Plain Buyouts; Gun Violence; Netflix's "House of Cards"

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Governor Cuomo wants to offer buyouts to homeowners in the 100 year flood plain. Thomas Kaplan of the New York Times explains how that would work. Plus: WNYC reporter Kathleen Horan's reporting project profiling every child killed by gun violence in New York City; and On the Media's Bob Garfield discusses the new Netflix show "House of Cards" and discusses whether this model will change TV.

WNYC News

For Some Struggling on Staten Island, Buy-Outs Welcome

Monday, February 04, 2013

Some of the yellow demolition machines sit idle in now-vacant lots. Some are busy filling trucks with debris. The nearby homes that aren’t at some stage of being torn down in the Oakwood Beach section of Staten Island may soon meet the same fate. At least that’s what more than 130 of the residents in the area are hoping for.

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WNYC News

Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island Still Closed Post-Sandy

Monday, February 04, 2013

Three months after Sandy, Liberty Island and Ellis Island are still closed and without power.

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Transportation Nation

Sandy Aid Funds for Transit Start to Flow

Monday, February 04, 2013

The FTA is releasing the first $2 billion in federal aid to "protect, repair, reconstruct, and replace public transit equipment and facilities" damaged by storm Sandy.

The funds are the "first installment" of $10.9 aid to transit passed by Congress and signed into law last week.

The NY MTA estimates Sandy caused $5 billion in damages in what it's then-head Joe Lhota called the "worst devastation ever." For a sense of why the price tag on rebuilding is so high, consider this radio report on the destroyed South Ferry station in Southern Manhattan, a single project that could cost about half a billion dollars.

The $2 billion made available today in federal money will go to a mix of agencies battered by Sandy's floodwaters, not just the NYC subway. See below for the official announcement:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Makes $2 Billion in Federal Aid Available for Public Transit Systems Damaged by Hurricane Sandy

 Assistance part of $10.9 billion emergency relief package to restore transit in 13 states

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced the availability of $2 billion through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) new Emergency Relief Program to help protect, repair, reconstruct, and replace public transit equipment and facilities that were badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The funds are the first installment of $10.9 billion appropriated to the FTA through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, which President Obama signed into law on January 29.

“At DOT, we continue doing all we can to help our state and local partners make their storm-damaged public transportation systems whole again,” said Secretary LaHood. “The $2 billion we’re making available now will reimburse transit agencies for extraordinary expenses incurred to protect workers and equipment before and after the hurricane hit, and support urgently needed repairs to seriously damaged transit systems and facilities in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and elsewhere.”

FTA’s new Emergency Relief Program was established under the two-year surface transportation law, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21). The funds will be awarded through the program on a rolling basis, in the form of grants to states, local governments, transit agencies and other organizations that own or operate transit systems damaged by the storm. Information about the funds and how to apply is available at www.fta.dot.gov/emergencyrelief.

“The Department has stepped up to address the worst transit disaster in U.S. history, which directly affected well over one-third of the nation’s transit,” said FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. “We are pledged to distribute the emergency relief funding responsibly and as quickly as possible to ensure that transit riders have the reliable service they need and deserve—and lay a strong foundation to mitigate the impact of such disasters in the future.”

Following the storm, the Department developed a rapid-response strategy to assist transit providers in the short-run, while laying the foundation for the responsible administration of federal-aid transit funds available now. Notably, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and FTA have conducted continuing damage assessments and cost-validation work for both operating and capital costs associated with restoring and rebuilding transit in the impacted areas. These early joint efforts support FTA’s ability to compensate the affected transit agencies promptly while ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being spent responsibly.

Consistent with the requirements of the supplemental appropriations, the remaining disaster relief funds will be made available after FTA issues interim regulations.

For the most part, the FTA will cover 90 percent of the cost of transit-related operating and capital projects undertaken in response to Hurricane Sandy.

 

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WNYC News

Cuomo Proposes Buying Flood-Prone Properties

Monday, February 04, 2013

Governor Andrew Cuomo has a plan to buy homes in flood-prone areas and then demolish them, creating more undeveloped coastline for the state.

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New Jersey News

Wave of Out-of-State Builders Has NJ on Guard

Sunday, February 03, 2013

New Jersey is seeing an unprecedented wave of home improvement contractors from out-of-state, looking to cash in on repairing the tens of thousands of homes damaged by Sandy, according to state officials. The state's Division of Consumer Affairs is warning that failure to do some basic research could cost home owners dearly.

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WNYC News

Look | Elevator Time Warp

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Since Sandy hit in late-October, there has been a steady stream of reporting on the storm and its aftermath. But one elevator in Lower Manhattan seems stuck on Sandy-related stories from when the storm first arrived.

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WNYC News

Sandy Gives Chance to Rethink Public Housing

Friday, February 01, 2013

With Sandy costing the New York City Housing Authority $800 million and counting, what is the best way to spend that money? We put the question to three experts.

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WNYC News

NYU Langone, Now Reopened, Seeks to Regain Market Share

Friday, February 01, 2013

Gatewave

Most of NYU Langone is now back up and running, including the popular labor and delivery unit.  But more than a dozen of the hospital's doctors have applied for permanent privileges at other hospitals.

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New Jersey News

Hoboken Slowly Getting Back to Normal

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Three months after Sandy sent floodwaters streaming through the streets of Hoboken, things look mostly back to normal. But behind the scenes, the recovery continues.

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WNYC News

#CoastCheck Update: Wednesday, January 30

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WNYC’s Janet Babin and Amy Pearl continue their post-Sandy #CoastCheck by talking with residents in Broad Channel, the sliver of Queens sandwiched between Howard Beach and the Rockaways. People there are still struggling to make their homes habitable.

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WNYC News

From Salt Marshes to Sea Barriers, Preparing for the Next Sandy Defense

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

“If Sandy had happened three weeks before when it did,” she said, “we would have lost the Belt Parkway.”

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WNYC News

Cape May to Montauk Three Months After Sandy

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

WNYC

On the three-month anniversary of Sandy, WNYC took a week-long road trip from Cape May, NJ to Montauk, NY to visit coastal communities and see how their recovery is coming along.

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WNYC News

#Coastcheck Update: Tuesday, January 29

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Reporter Janet Babin made another stop along the Jersey Shore before heading to Staten Island Tuesday. She said Highlands, New Jersey still resembles a disaster area, but before the community can move forward, residents have to decide how to rebuild.

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