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Schumer Calls on FEMA to Swiftly Assess Damages and Provide Critical Reimbursement Funds to the MTA, After Irene and Lee Wrecked Rail Lines in Orange County - Of $65 Million in Total Damages, MTA Has Requested $21 Million From FEMA This Week

MTA Paid Millions Upfront to Repair 2-Mile Stretch of Metro-North's Port Jervis Rail Line That Was Washed Away During Heavy Flooding

Schumer: MTA and Its Riders Can't Be Left on the Hook for Storm Repair Costs

Yesterday, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to swiftly assess and reimburse for damages to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) transportation system, mainly along the Metro-North Port Jervis. These damages were caused by Tropical Storms Irene's and Lee's heavy winds and immense flooding last fall, and this week the MTA submitted its final request to both FEMA and its private insurer after fronting nearly $65 million to cover the costs of track damages. In his letter to FEMA, Schumer urged the agency to swiftly reimburse the MTA for this repair work, over a year after the storm devastated Orange County and the entire Hudson Valley. Of the total $65 million incurred in damages, MTA is hopeful that nearly $21 million will be eligible for reimbursement from FEMA.

"Orange County commuters and the MTA should not be left out to dry a full year after Tropical Storms Irene and Lee caused $65 million in damages to the Hudson Valley rail line," said Schumer. "After the storms, MTA and local officials acted quickly and responsibly to repair the tracks that Hudson Valley commuters rely on every day, and the federal government should immediately step in so the MTA and its riders don't have to shoulder the burden of the millions in damages alone."

Schumer stated that following the storms, the MTA was forced to pay millions in repair upfront for a 2-mile stretch between Suffern and Harriman, that was completely washed away. He highlighted in his letter that it is now critical that FEMA reimburse the MTA, given that approximately one-third of their claims will go towards reimbursement of work on the Port Jervis line that has already been completed. MTA completed repair work quickly following the storm, in order to ensure that the Port Jervis line regained function as soon as possible for commuters who rely on the line to go to and from work every day. Now it is FEMA's turn to also step up to the plate and provide this funding in a timely manner.

A copy of Senator Schumer's letter appears below:

Dear Administrator Fugate:

I write to you today to urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to work as expeditiously as possible to assess and process the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)'s reimbursement request for damages incurred during Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene. It is my understanding that this request will defray a portion of the costs that MTA paid for upfront in order to construct and repair portions of MTA's track damaged by the storms.

The MTA's entire transportation system experienced approximately $65 million in losses due to Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene. As you may recall, a majority of this damage rested along the Metro-North Railroad's Port Jervis line including a two-mile stretch of right-of-way between Suffern and Harriman that was completely washed out by heavy flooding and wind from these storms. Given the severity of this damage, approximately one-third of the MTA's claims will help reimburse the agency for the work that it completed to ensure that the Port Jervis line was back up and running in less than three months. It is crucial that the MTA be reimbursed its fair share within a timely manner given the time and financing the agency has already invested in the Port Jervis line and greater transportation system at large.

I respectfully urge you to review and process the MTA's request as quickly as possible to see that the agency is reimbursed its fair share within a timely manner. Thank you for consideration of this request and for your continued assistance. If you have any additional questions feel free to contact my staff at your earliest convenience.