Storm water from Hurricane Ida rushed into the 28th Street subway station last year.
The storm highlighted the need for the city to update flood prevention measures in public transit.
On Wednesday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stood outside that same subway station introducing what she’s calling the Resilient Transit Act.
What You Need To Know
- On Wednesday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the Resilient Transit Act
- The bill would authorize a total of $300 million each year from 2023 to 2026 to improve public transit
- Gillibrand said she's confident the bill will have bipartisan support, but admits there could be challenges if Democrats lose control of Congress in November’s election
The bill would establish the first repeating yearly source of federal funding dedicated to protecting public transit systems from extreme weather.
“Ten years after Superstorm Sandy flooded our subway stations and train yards with corrosive saltwater, our transit systems are still under-equipped to address this great problem,” Gillibrand said.
The Resilient Transit Act would authorize $300 million each year from 2023 to 2026 to improve public transit.
MTA Senior Advisor for Federal Policy, Naomi Renek, said since Hurricane Sandy, the agency has made progress addressing climate change, but more needs to be done for the transit system to withstand extreme weather.
“This bill would provide dedicated annual funding MTA would use to implement more measures and develop new ways to protect the system including commuter railroads,” Renek said.
“We’ve seen more frequent and more intense rainstorms. These storms are harder to predict both in terms of timing,” she continued. “And in terms of locations, they can send water cascading into the subway system as we saw last fall, and it can also cause extreme erosion and our commuter rail network. When these events disrupt transit service, the city grinds to a halt.”
Riders Alliance, an organization that advocates for transit improvements, said change is long overdue.
“We’ve seen hot, extremely hot platforms. It’s not just an inconvenience to riders, for the system is devastating to the system that needs to be pumping gallons and gallons of water out trying to cool trains and platforms. It also means that riders will potentially lose work, lose their jobs, lose precious time with their families, while they’re trying to figure out how they can modify their commute because of a major storm,” Betsy Plum executive director for Rider’s Alliance, said.
Gillibrand said she’s confident the bill will have bipartisan support, but admits there could be challenges if Democrats lose control of congress in November’s election.
She also said this bill would close a funding gap which did not include mass transit in the infrastructure bill recently passed in Washington.