The MTA suffered at least $75 million in damages from flooding tied to Hurricane Ida earlier this month, acting Chairman Janno Lieber said Wednesday.
“We’ve given our initial estimates to FEMA, and that was in the $75 to $100 million range,” Lieber told reporters after the authority’s monthly board meeting. “Usually these numbers creep up as you start to understand the secondary impacts of whatever took place.”
The MTA pumped 75 million gallons of water out of the subway system in the aftermath of the storm, Lieber said.
Flooding from Ida cut power on some train lines and flooded commuter rail tracks and one bus depot, knocking out transit service across the city and region.
“The storm sewer system at the street level is insufficient to some of these flash floods that climate change appears to be bringing,” Lieber said. “We were pumping like crazy, and the sewer system, the storm sewer system, couldn’t take more water.”
On top of the costs of repairing and replacing affected infrastructure, the MTA is also mulling what it needs to do to prevent damaging floods in the future, Lieber said. But he noted that the damage from Ida was significantly less than from Superstorm Sandy in 2012 because Sandy brought saltwater into the system, which is much more damaging.
Lieber said the city and MTA are working to identify stations vulnerable to flash floods.
“We’re going to take some actions with the city, but there also needs to be these long term investments in street level drainage,” he said.
Gov. Kathy Hochul has vowed to “intensely” investigate the MTA’s response to the storm.