As the East Coast surveys the damage from Hurricane Sandy, cities are still struggling to get their transit systems back up and running.
In New York City, there is no firm timetable for restoring subway service after train tunnels were flooded with a surge of saltwater, in what New York MTA Chair Joe Lhota has called the most devastating event to ever strike the subway system.
In Philadelphia, SEPTA is slowly bringing back service on subway and bus lines. The regional rail system is down at least until tomorrow, with the majority of the damage apparently from downed trees. Amtrak has also continued its suspension of service on the Northeast Corridor, with repairs pending on the track and signal systems, as well as the removal of trees and other debris.
New Jersey Transit was hit hard, with “major damage on each and every one of New Jersey rail lines,” according to Governor Chris Christie, including washouts along the North Jersey Coast Line and at Kearny Junction, as well as flooding at rail hubs in Secaucus, Hoboken and Newark Penn Station, according to the AP. It could be seven to 10 days before PATH train service is restored.
DC’s metro came back online at 2:00 p.m. today, and there was no major flooding or damage reported to Baltimore’s and Boston’s transit systems.
One early estimate pegged the total damage caused by the storm at more than $20 billion, with insured losses at about $7 billion. Infrastructure repairs figure to account for a substantial portion of the costs. With transit agencies and local governments still feeling the fiscal squeeze, who will foot the bill?