Hurricane Sandy: Emergency Relief and Disaster Recovery Updates
DOT is coordinating closely with its state and federal partners to speed the restoration of transportation mobility in affected states. We're also working with other federal agencies to ensure fast, efficient transport of power sources, fuel, and supplies to speed Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.
You can learn about some of the actions we're taking below. We will do our best to update this page as we continue helping those affected by Sandy.
Federal Highway Administration
FHWA is working with the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHTO) to expedite the permitting process for carriers moving temporary mobile housing units from Maryland and Alabama to New Jersey. Under normal circumstances, carriers have to work with states to get permits from each state they travel through.
In this instance, FHWA is coordinating with AASHTO to cut through some of the red tape and get all necessary permits at the same time. In addition, FHWA is also working with states to allow nighttime moves, which aren’t normally allowed.
The Federal Highway Administration has approved $29 million in emergency relief funds for states to use in rebuilding roads, bridges, seawalls and tunnels, and expects additional requests from other states in the coming days.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued an Eastern Regional Emergency Declaration to temporarily lift hours-of-service requirements and other regulations to assist interstate motor carrier drivers and operators providing direct emergency relief, including generators and fuel.
For example, FMCSA worked with Pacific Gas & Electric to help a California convoy of utility vehicles bearing generators cross interstate lines to reach the impacted region by Thursday morning after leaving the West Coast early Tuesday morning. Working with FEMA and the Defense Logistics Agency, FMCSA has also helped connect fuel distributors with companies that have fuel pump trucks.
Working with the Department of Homeland Security, MARAD has provided FEMA with the use of several nearby ships to provide lodging, food and power for emergency response personnel who have travelled to New York to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The TS Empire State, a training vessel berthed at SUNY Maritime Academy, is currently supporting FEMA community relations surge personal.
The Ready Reserve Fleet (RRF) vessel Wright, out of Baltimore, and the TS Kennedy, out of Buzzards Bay, MA, are being used to house and feed FEMA community relations surge personnel and personnel from the American Red Cross. Both vessels are docked at Home Port Pier in Staten Island, NY.
On November 11, Veterans Day, 272 midshipmen from the United States Merchant Marine Academy left Kings Point for the Rockaways in a convoy of eight school buses financed completely by the Class of 2013. The USMMA volunteers worked side-by-side with relief groups to clean homes and remove sand from area streets. They removed and organized tons of clothing and erected a huge tent to protect these items from the next expected storm. They also provided needed logistical support by sorting and distributing food donations and delivering hot food to homebound elderly residents.
Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
To ease clean-up and recovery efforts, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration professionals are on the ground observing pipeline recovery and fuel delivery activities.
PHMSA is also helping speed the transport of hazardous materials to and from hurricane disaster areas with fast tracked emergency special permits, including one to transport gasoline and diesel to New Jersey and New York and one that allows a large retail store to move goods quickly from damaged or structurally impaired stores to temporary facilities nearby so people still have access to needed goods.
If you need assistance or a special permit to move hazardous materials quickly from or within the affected states on an emergency basis, contact PHMSA's Office of Hazardous Materials Special Permits and Approvals at 202-366-4535.
Whether you have hired professionals to remove outdoor debris or you’re doing repair work, please remember to Call 811 before you dig. There may be critical utility lines underground; accidentally hitting an underground pipeline can result in loss of power or even a natural gas explosion. When you call 811, you will be connected with local utility companies who will send someone out to mark the location of the lines. Typically, the lines can be marked within 48 hours of placing a call to 811; however, it may take longer for crews to come out due to the recovery activities taking place in the areas hit by Sandy.
PHMSA reminds emergency responders and utility workers who need more information about pipelines in their area to use PHMSA’s Public Viewer application to access maps of transmission pipelines, LNG plants and breakout tanks. No username or password is required for the application, and the maps are printable.
For more assistance, contact PHMSA’s Office of Pipeline Safety at 202-366-4595.
Federal Transit Administration
The Federal Transit Administration is working with FEMA and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to secure as many as 350 buses which will be used across New Jersey to help commuters connect to or reach Manhattan and the surrounding area. The buses will be used to supplement NJ Transit commuter rail and PATH rail lines where service is not yet restored. Some of the buses were in place for Monday's commute and more will be added throughout the week.
Separately, FTA continues efforts to secure commitments from transit authorities along the East Coast to provide buses to transit agencies impacted by Hurricane Sandy. As a result of FTA's call, the South Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will be loaning approximately 30 buses to NJ Transit to help restore transportation service.
FTA has been in constant contact with transit agencies along the east coast and stands ready to deploy FTA transportation experts to FEMA Joint Field Offices to get transit agencies up and running as quickly as possible.
Federal Railroad Administration
The Federal Railroad Administration is working in concert with a host of other federal agencies to ensure that all passenger rail services in the Northeast Corridor are restored as quickly as possible. With one out of every seven Americans living along the Corridor, full service restoration is our highest priority.
As with any natural disaster of this scope, FRA's first obligation is to ensure that newly resumed service is safe for passengers and freight rail alike. FRA is working directly with Amtrak and freight rail carriers in the Northeast Corridor as they assess damages, facilitate recovery efforts and plan to resume service.
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is taking steps to restore and repair FAA facilities and equipment that were affected by the storm.
FAA worked to quickly repair or re-establish any damaged air traffic facilities or critical navigational aids on runways and airfields in areas impacted by the hurricane.