N.J. Awarded $1.3 Billion for Transit Storm Protection

New Jersey will receive $1.28 billion in federal funds to strengthen its transit system against catastrophic storms such as Superstorm Sandy, which brought commuter service to a halt almost two years ago.

Governor Chris Christie’s office said the Federal Transit Administration grants will allow New Jersey Transit, which runs the largest statewide public transportation network in the U.S., to operate even when the main power grid fails.

Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City on Oct. 29, 2012, and washed out sections of track, dislodged bridge girders and flooded stations and terminals, causing an estimated $400 million in damage to NJ Transit’s infrastructure. Surging water damaged 62 of 203 locomotives and left 261 of 1,162 rail cars in need of repair, transit officials said at the time.

“These projects are absolutely critical to hardening our region’s transportation infrastructure against future extreme weather,” Veronique Hakim, executive director of NJ Transit, said in a statement issued by Christie’s office.

The federal funds will help NJ Transit build an electrical “microgrid” to allow trains to run after other power is knocked out, to raise substations and reinforce them against flooding, replace a drawbridge damaged in the storm and fill a former barge canal to guard against flood waters inundating Hoboken Terminal, according to the governor’s office.

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