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Governor Hochul Announces MTA Climate Resilience Roadmap to Safeguard New York’s Transit System Against Climate-Related Threats

Plan Demonstrates Urgency to Strengthen Region’s Transportation Network for the Future

Outlines Up To $6 Billion In Needs to Make the System More Resilient Over Next Decade

Albany, NY – WEBWIRE

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Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority unveiled its Climate Resilience Roadmap, a comprehensive framework to fortify the transit system against the impacts of climate change. Developed in response to the demonstrated and urgent need to address climate-related threats, the roadmap underscores the MTA’s commitment to ensure reliability and safety in the transit system for generations of New Yorkers to come. The Climate Resilience Roadmap is comprised of a Climate Vulnerability Assessment and 10 core climate resilience goals targeted to address the magnitude of climate threats facing MTA infrastructure. Importantly, it includes a multi-pronged implementation framework consisting of capital plan integration, resilient design practices, proactive operating actions and better coordination between partner agencies.

“Our transit systems are being directly impacted by climate change, from mudslides on the Hudson Line to flooding in our subways and busways.” Governor Hochul said. “The Climate Resiliency Roadmap is an essential component of making sure our critical infrastructure can withstand extreme weather events and keep New Yorkers moving safely.”

MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said, “Transit is the antidote to climate change, which is why we have to preserve and improve New York’s amazing subway, bus and commuter rail systems. But our transit system is still vulnerable to the effects of climate change, so we need to execute on this visionary resiliency plan, which has been designed to ensure the reliability and safety of New York’s transit system for years to come.”

MTA Construction & Development President Jamie Torres-Springer said, “This roadmap lays out a strategic framework to address the most critical measures needed to protect our transit infrastructure from climate-related threats and ensure the long-term functionality and resilience of our city’s subways, commuter rail and bridges and tunnels. We’re looking forward to beginning these critical projects to preserve and improve the safety and transit needs of our riders"

Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi said, “Many of the facilities that are behind the scenes for riders, like the Mott Haven Yard, have been affected by coastal flooding and heavy rainfall, and extreme weather events can completely shut down the railroad, inconveniencing thousands of customers. Making resiliency investments in our train yards, maintenance shops, and power and signal systems give us the ability to rebound quickly after future storms and continue to provide safe and reliable service in all kinds of weather.”

Key strategies and actions in the Resilience Roadmap include defending the subway system from flooding, reducing coastal and rainfall flooding on Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road and protecting infrastructure from extreme heat. The capital costs associated with this work are estimated to be as much as $6 billion over the next decade.

Necessary interventions to safeguard the transit system include:

  • Shielding subways from torrential rain by installing mitigations like raised steps and elevated street vents to prevent stormwater from entering the subway system.
  • Investing in subway drainage and pumping equipment to remove stormwater that does enter the system.
  • Protecting subway yards and bus depots by elevating sensitive equipment above anticipated flood depths in areas that must remain operational during weather-related emergencies.
  • Addressing heat impacts on bridges by continuing existing efforts to protect metallic components from expansion due to prolonged heat exposure.
  • Advancing proactive measures to reduce the impacts of monthly tidal floods and rain on regional railroad infrastructure exacerbated by climate change-induced sea level rise.

The Climate Resilience Roadmap follows the release of the 20-Year Needs Assessment in October 2023, the most rigorous and transparent assessment of the MTA system to date, outlining the MTA’s region’s needs for the next generation. It provides a blueprint to strengthen and expand the system, while improving reliability and resilience.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “From Mott Haven in the Bronx to Poughkeepsie, our public transit systems interconnect neighborhoods across New York City’s five boroughs with surrounding communities along the Hudson River. A vulnerability in one part of the system can cause severe service disruption for thousands of riders, who depend on reliable service to go about their daily lives. It is critically important that New York’s public transportation system is responsive and resilient in the face of extreme weather conditions. The Climate Resilience Roadmap is not only a vital tool to guide infrastructure planning, but it will go a long way in helping New York address the most critical needs of our mass transit now and in the future.”

State Senator and Chair of Committee on Environmental Conservation Pete Harckham said, “Creating a Climate Resilience Map for transit facilities makes sense because of our need to protect our vital transit network from the devastating impacts of climate change. Recent storms that were strong and not even catastrophic have caused flooding, fallen trees and high winds that have cut off Metro-North Railroad service, impacting those who use the trains to commute to work each day, especially the first responders and other essential workers, who are unable to work from home. I commend the MTA for taking the initiative to develop a plan to protect this important asset, which is vital for millions of New Yorkers in our region and beyond.”

State Senator Nathalia Fernandez said, “We are so overjoyed to see that we are setting an example of how we need to handle the climate change that is happening around us and how we can prevent future disasters and delays. Being proactive now is going to prevent the delays and destruction later. In every storm that happens, the one thing people want to do, they want to go home. How can they get home if their means of getting home is disrupted, delayed, flooded. So this will definitely reduce delays, reduce destruction, reduce climate change, destruction, and we’ll really see how we can handle the weather, really handle the climate around us as we continue to make moves in every part of our lives.”

State Senator Luis Sepúlveda said, “Climate change presents a profound challenge to our transportation infrastructure, demanding proactive measures to safeguard our city’s future. The MTA’s Climate Resilience Roadmap is a vital step forward. It exemplifies our commitment to not only protect our transit systems but also to ensure their reliability and safety for generations to come. I am proud to support this initiative and eager to see the positive impact of our collective efforts”.

Assemblymember Amy Paulin said, “As we continue to deal with the weather effects of climate change, it’s imperative that our infrastructure can withstand what is happening. Utilizing public transportation is key to fighting climate change. I thank the MTA for working to ensure that our public transportation system is resilient and able to continue serve New Yorkers.”

NYC Council Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Selvena N. Brooks-Powers said, “Unfortunately, coastal communities across New York City are no strangers to the growing damage and disruption of flooding throughout the city’s roadways and subway system. All New Yorkers are impacted when our transit systems fail to measure up. The Governor’s Climate Resilience Roadmap creates a strategic framework to codify and protect the most vulnerable pieces of infrastructure against climate change to ensure our city’s transit system works well for all our communities. I look forward to seeing this project move forward.”

NYC Council Member Kristy Marmorato said, ”I am deeply encouraged by the framework outlined in the Climate Resilience Roadmap. With a keen eye on the needs of my constituents, I eagerly anticipate the implementation of necessary infrastructural changes such as the raised steps and pumping equipment to train stations found within District 13. Some of these stations are a century old and by addressing issues such as flooding and extreme weather events, these initiatives will enhance the resilience and sustainability of District 13, ensuring a safer and more resilient transit future for constituents.”

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “Westchester County welcomes the MTA’s Climate Resilience Roadmap as a step towards safeguarding our transit system against the growing threats of climate change. Westchester County has long been tied to the rail system, it is important to our residents and the livelihood of our County. We appreciate the MTA’s dedication to ensuring the reliability and safety of our transit networks. This roadmap not only addresses the immediate challenges posed by climate change, but also lays a foundation for a more sustainable and resilient transit system for generations to come.”

President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe said, “The MTA’s Climate Resilience Roadmap demonstrates exactly the kind of forethought and planning that is needed to transform our mass transit system into one capable of meeting the needs of a growing population in the age of climate change and extreme weather. From addressing equity and service to infrastructure and resilience, the roadmap doesn’t just name the destination, it shows us how to get there.”

Regional Plan Association Vice President Energy & Environment Robert Freudenberg said, “As climate impacts continue to worsen, we commend the MTA for taking a clear-eyed look at the immediate and long-term threats that flooding and heat pose to our critical bus, subway, and regional rail systems. The MTA Resilience Roadmap is a critical step toward aligning capital planning and budgets with the realities of climate change, ensuring that our public transit systems can be adapted before it’s too late.”

Riders Alliance Policy & Communications Director Danny Pearlstein said, ”Every day, several million riders depend on the MTA to get us to work, school, medical appointments and more, and then back home again. In the face of rising seas, catastrophic heat and extreme rainfall, the resilience of our public transit system is being tested like never before. Our leaders at all levels of government need to ensure the MTA has the resources sufficient to maintain, upgrade and future-proof our basic infrastructure"

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