As severe weather events become increasingly common and pose a growing threat to our transportation infrastructure, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a video press conference to announce her Resilient Transit Act. This week’s flooding has shut down vital transportation corridors across New York, including certain Metro-North lines. Gillibrand’s legislation would provide millions in federal funding to help Metro-North and other transit agencies prepare for future extreme weather like flooding, storm surges, and extreme heat by making proactive upgrades to subways, trains, buses, and ferries.
Senator Gillibrand also highlighted provisions of her Resilient Highways Act that she fought to pass as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These provisions will help states make resiliency improvements to protect bridges, tunnels, and roads against future damage from sea-level rise, floods, and other disasters.
“This week’s storms have made it clear that our roads and railways are highly vulnerable to flooding and other extreme weather,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We can’t wait until the next devastating storm to fix weaknesses in such critical infrastructure. That’s why I’m announcing the Resilient Transit Act. This bill will help bus and train systems proactively prepare for severe storms, restore service quickly afterwards, and get New Yorkers where they need to go.”
The Resilient Transit Act would add an additional source of funding to the Federal Transit Administration’s State of Good Repair Grants Program that is specifically for resilience improvement projects. The State of Good Repair Grants Program provides capital assistance for maintenance, replacement, and rehabilitation projects of public transportation systems. This legislation would authorize $300 million for each of fiscal years 2024 through 2027 for resilience improvement grants and apportion those funds in accordance with the existing State of Good Repair formula. Recipients would be able to use the funds to finance stand-alone resilience improvement projects or resilience improvement components of larger projects carried out under the State of Good Repair Grants Program. Buses, light rail, ferries, commuter rail, street cars, and subways would be eligible to receive funding under the Resilient Transit Act.
Kirsten has also fought to make roads and bridges more resilient against severe weather. Provisions of her Resilient Highways Act that passed as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will give states the resources to raise and relocate roads out of flood risk or slide zones, construct new protective features like drainage structures and scour protection, and use natural infrastructure to mitigate flood risk, among other measures.
Senator Gillibrand also helped secure the inclusion of the Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-Saving Transportation (PROTECT) Grant Program in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The PROTECT program funds projects that improve the resilience of transportation infrastructure, including highways, public transportation, ports, and intercity passenger rail. The application period for the PROTECT discretionary grants is currently open until August 18, 2023, with up to $848 million in funding available.