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New Jersey Partners With U.S. to Improve Transit System

New Jersey will partner with U.S. energy officials for a $1 million study to make the state’s rail system more resilient in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The partnership will help design an advanced electrical microgrid system that will be able to keep New Jersey Transit trains operating during major power outages. Such systems are in use at more than 20 military bases, Governor Chris Christie said in a statement with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

New Jersey Transit operates the third-largest U.S. public-transportation system, with 900,000 passengers daily. Sandy brought service to a standstill, washing out some of the system’s 500 miles of track, bringing down overhead wires and flooding control points. Repairs from the Oct. 29 storm extended commutes as it left many Manhattan workers navigating buses and ferries rather than their usual trains.

Sandy exposed the vulnerability of the transit system, Christie said. Microgrids use a variety of energy sources to generate power, including wind and solar, and can operate independently of the larger grid.

“This first-of-its-kind electrical microgrid will supply highly-reliable power during storms, and help keep our public transportation systems running during natural times of disaster, Christie, 50, said in a statement.

The governor, a first-term Republican, is enjoying high approval ratings for his response to Sandy. He is seeking re-election in November and may run for president in 2016.

New Jersey Transit is already working on a plan to strengthen its infrastructure, including raising critical substations and installing new steel poles that power trains.

The microgrid would involve the Jersey City, Kearny, Secaucus, Hoboken, Harrison and Newark stations, ‘‘the most vulnerable corridor within the agency’s rail system,’’ according to a New Jersey Transit news release. They are part of the Northeast Corridor route between Washington and Boston.

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