Home Asides A $65 million insurance request from Irene

A $65 million insurance request from Irene

by Benjamin Kabak

The MTA drew criticism last year for being overly cautious when it shut down subway service in the face of Hurricane Irene. While New York City Transit was spared the brunt of the storm a year ago, Metro-North’s Port Jervis line suffered a wash-out, and the agency incurred significant planning costs. Yesterday, the MTA announced that it has submitted a $65 million claim to FEMA for reimbursement of these expenses.

So far, the MTA has recovered approximately $27.7 million in insurance proceeds and is targeting around $50 million as its total recovery. Of the $65 million, $21million will cove repairs of the Metro-North washouts west of the Hudson River, and New York City Transit has submitted a request for $22 million. That breaks down as $8 million in overtime costs for storm preparedness and $14 million in lost revenue when the subway system shut down for the first time in its history.

Meanwhile, as the one-year anniversary of the storm comes and goes, it’s tough to say that the MTA is any better prepared long-term for shifting ocean levels, major weather catastrophes and a changing environment. A request to FEMA to cover last year’s expenses helps the budget, but comprehensive long-term planning will help avoid shutdowns in the future.

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3 comments

BrooklynBus August 28, 2012 - 4:28 pm

I am so glad that I retired seven years ago because it would have been my job to collate all that information and submit all those MTA claims. I wonder who is doing it now?

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Larry Littlefield August 28, 2012 - 6:14 pm

The MTA doesn’t need to plan to avoid shutdowns. It needs to plan to prevent a flood in low lying areas, as almost happened during Irene, from rushing into the entire subway system, wrecking all the electric and electronic equipment, and shutting the whole system down for months.

This means installing a series of retractable water stoppers than can positioned to damn off tunnels and protect most of the system from the parts with low lying stations. The resources could then be focused on a limited area of damage in the wake of a flood.

This would take money. Too much money, given the prior post, and the debt already run up. More opportunity cost of being overcharged.

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BrooklynBus August 28, 2012 - 11:26 pm

Not all the water comes from the tunnels. After 9-11, low lying stations such as Franklin Street flooded just from all the water used by the firefighters at the WTC.

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