The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has invested nearly $1 billion in storm mitigation and resiliency projects in the five years since Hurricane Sandy with another $1.8 billion in the pipeline, the bi-state transportation agency announced Thursday.
The Port Authority marked the upcoming fifth anniversary of the superstorm that ravaged the New York and New Jersey coasts on Oct. 29, 2012 with details on its plans to combat future weather disasters. The authority, which has around $20 billion in outstanding debt, outlined its creation of a Storm Mitigation and Resilience Office in 2013 and how 80 capital projects have been completed since the storm with another 65 in progress.
“Superstorm Sandy devastated this region causing unprecedented damage to critical Port Authority assets, including the PATH rail system,” Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole said in a statement. “The multi-billion-dollar recovery and resiliency investments will better protect our facilities from the impact of future storms, and keep our millions of customers moving, and our regional jobs and economy growing.”
The Federal Transit Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency have provided grant funding for the Port Authority’s repair and resiliency initiatives, according O'Toole. The authority expects that available insurance coverage and federal disaster relief funds will "substantially" cover the Port Authority’s estimated damage and resiliency costs.
Some of the Sandy-related projects the Port Authority highlighted Thursday include:
- Installation of tide gates at John F. Kennedy International Airport and flood protection for electrical substations and improvements to runway and taxiway drainage systems at LaGuardia Airport.
- Installation of permanent and deployable flood barriers at PATH stations in Hoboken, Grove Street, Newport and Exchange Place.
- Installation of concrete seawall and automatic flood barrier at PATH’s Harrison Car Maintenance Facility.
- Installations of flood barriers at the Holland Tunnel.
"We are laser-focused on ensuring the transportation assets we own and operate are rebuilt to standards that reflect new and evolving expectations of severe weather and climate change, so that we minimize the risk of major disruptions and shutdowns when major storms hit,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said in a statement. “We will continue to review, evaluate and explore innovative ways to protect our assets and ensure we have best-in-class systems in place at our facilities.”