Hoboken train station

HOBOKEN, NJ-Federal funds that will start paying for the emergency repairs of the state’s transit systems after superstorm Sandy are now being released. The U.S. Department of Transportation sent the first $2 billion in aid today, part of the $10.9 billion appropriation for transit systems signed by President Obama last week.

NJ Transit has reported $400 million in damages. About a quarter of that involves damage to train cars and locomotives that is eligible for insurance coverage.

Federal funds will be used for repairing and shoring up existing facilities and infrastructure damaged in the Oct. 29 hurricane. NJ Transit is still working to assess the total cost of damages and working with the Federal Emergency Management Administration to finalize what aid will be available.

Last week, the Hoboken Terminal waiting room reopened six weeks after a five-foot surge of storm waters waters gushed in, damaging floors, strewing mud and debris and sending mold creeping into walls.

The waiting room had reopened for a month in mid-November without heat. However, once the radiant heat system in the floors was turned on, the floors buckled. It had been closed since Dec. 19.  Walls were power-washed and heating systems replaced.  Further repair work remains: The food court and public restrooms will have to be rebuilt.

The historic 106-year-old Hoboken Terminal, with its 22-story clock tower, is a landmark on the Jersey skyline.

Overall, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has estimated about $300 million in damage was done by the storm to the PATH system.