FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 30, 2017
Coalition for the Northeast Corridor Observes the Fifth Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy
(Washington, D.C.) – Five years after Superstorm Sandy, the passenger rail corridor between Washington, DC and Boston is at greater risk of catastrophic failure than at any time in its history. The Coalition for the Northeast Corridor (CNEC) is asking Northeast elected officials and policymakers to register on this disturbing truth and fully consider the impacts of forgoing Northeast Corridor infrastructure investment.
Superstorm Sandy battered the Northeast seaboard, leaving lasting damage on communities, businesses, and lives. Sandy caused storm-related damage costs of nearly $37 billion in New Jersey and $19 billion in New York City, not including the $4.75 billion in infrastructure damage estimated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Nearly 11 million commuters were left without service, and Amtrak suspended service ending and originating in East Coast stations, severely impacting mobility along Northeast Corridor (NEC). The anniversary of Sandy is an important reminder of the importance of investing in the corridor and the work that remains incomplete.
Amtrak and the commuter railroads operating on the NEC transport a workforce that contributes nearly $50 billion annually to the American economy. The impact of Sandy represented a major dent in the national economy. Population and economic data project significant regional growth in the next 30 years, thus the next major storm will cause even more economic devastation.
“The lack of investment in the Northeast Corridor means there’s little margin for any disruption, whether caused by man or nature. It’s important to register on Superstorm Sandy’s enormous impact in the Northeast, and it’s essential that we all understand how much worse it’ll be the next time a major storm hits and the NEC is unable to move its half-million daily users who depend on Amtrak and commuter rail,” said Steve Morrison of Siemens, President of CNEC. “As the Region’s population continues to grow, so too does the cost of a storm-related transportation standstill unless and until we address the NEC’s state-of-good-repair.”
“Five years after Superstorm Sandy, the NEC is still not up to a state of good repair. The long-term health of the corridor can be protected with sustained federal investment,” added Michael Friedberg, Executive Director of CNEC. “CNEC urges federal appropriators and the Administration to invest in the NEC to maintain the region’s – and the nation’s – vibrancy.”
The House Appropriations Committee, with the leadership of Chairman Frelinghuysen, appropriated $500 million in the House FY 2018 THUD Bill to the “Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair”- a federally authorized grant program for rail/NEC. This $500 million could be leveraged (via State matching requirements) into another $500 million – bringing the total investment up to $1 billion. However, the Senate only included $26 million for the same program.