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WMATA Receives $21 Million in Sandy Relief Funds

The Capitol South Metro station was closed for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority received $21 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation Monday as part of a multi-billion dollar effort to help transportation systems recover from Hurricane Sandy and prepare for future disasters.  

“While Metro did sustain some minor damage — primarily localized flooding — from Sandy, these grants are focused on reducing the risk of damage from future natural disasters,” WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call.  

New York and New Jersey received the vast majority of the nearly $3.6 billion in funding for "resilience projects." The Washington Metro system's funds will be used to raise vent covers and improve infrastructure that insulates subway tunnels from rain and sewage.  

"A timetable for construction will be determined once design work is completed," Stessel wrote. "Because much of this work is above ground or within the pumping stations themselves, these upgrades are not expected to cause delays to service." Stessel said areas around the National Mall are more susceptible to flooding than in the past. Therefore, $13.5 million of WMATA's funding will be used to raise vent shafts around the Federal Triangle, Archives and Smithsonian stations as well as address other problem areas.  

Work will also be done to improve flood prevention at 18 sites in the transit system. The other grant, amounting to $7.5 million, will improve drainage systems at 133 locations along the Metro.  

Transit systems from areas President Barack Obama declared disaster zones were eligible to apply for funding, which included 13 states and the District of Columbia.  

The Federal Transit Administration received 61 proposals for resilience projects at transportation systems affected by Hurricane Sandy and 40 projects were selected.  

According to an FTA release announcing the funding, the proposals were evaluated on a number of criteria, including whether the projects would “reduce the risk of damage to public transportation assets inflicted by future natural disasters.”  

The proposals were also judged on the “ability to protect the most essential and vulnerable infrastructure, as well as effective collaboration and coordination among local and regional governments.”  

Funding for the resiliency projects is allocated from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.  

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