Schumer Says Feds Will Cover 90 Percent Of Montague Tunnel Repair Costs

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On the upcoming anniversary of superstorm Sandy, subway riders on the hardest hit lines will get a free ride.

Starting at midnight Tuesday, fares will be suspended for riders on the A line between Howard Beach and the Rockaway Peninsula and stations on the R line between Bay Ridge-95th Street and Court Street, officials announced Friday.

“We welcome our customers back, we thank our customers, we’ll continue to be there for you,” New York State Director of Operations Howard Glaser said.

“On the one year anniversary of superstorm Sandy we want to thank New Yorkers who made it through the storm with both resilience and good spirits,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “These free rides are a thank you to the MTA riders in the Rockaways in Queens and those who use the R train in Brooklyn for taking the hardships of the storm in stride and for their understanding in the months since.”

Also Friday, Sen. Charles Schumer announced the Federal Transit Administration will cover 90 percent of the costs to repair the R Train’s Montague tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Sandy filled the tunnel with 27 million gallons of water, forcing a 14-month closure for repairs which are expected to cost an estimated $262 million.

“Every dollar paid for by the feds is one less dollar that has to be borne by the MTA, putting less pressure on fares and on the agency’s books,” said Schumer. “The subway system is the lifeblood of New York City, and it makes sense that the feds would pick up the tab for such extensive repairs after such a major storm. This is exactly what we hoped money would go towards when we passed the Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill.”

Repairs include new signals, tracks and other equipment.

Officials said once the work is complete, the tunnel will be in a better state than before the storm.

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