Urban Fold

MTA Disaster Aid Request: Appropriate or Overreach?

This week, New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority made public its request for $5 billion in federal aid to rebuild what was damaged during Superstorm Sandy. But a look at the details reveals an ambitious agenda for improvements.

Matt Flegenheimer takes a close look at the MTA's cost estimates for rebuilding infrastructure damaged during Superstorm Sandy relased this week, and finds "a window into the agency’s dual considerations as it counters unprecedented damage across the system: making short-term repairs to key structures, like subway equipment and tunnels, while enacting previously unplanned infrastructure improvements in the long term — ideally with considerable assistance from the federal government."

“Even FEMA will tell you, don’t replace in kind if you can replace and harden and improve,” Thomas F. Prendergast, the president of New York City Transit, said on Tuesday, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “And they’re willing to pay for that cost.”

"Mr. Prendergast noted that the figures were 'order of magnitude' estimates that were subject to change significantly. But he also hinted at the delicate art of securing disaster reimbursement. 'When you’re dealing with third parties who may reimburse you, you never want to start low and then work high,' he said, adding that 'you don’t want to pad,' either."

Full Story: M.T.A. Seeks Aid Not Just for Repairs, but for Improvements

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