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UPDATED 2/19/2013: BY JOSH ROGERS | South Ferry is the end of the No. 1 line and transit officials thought it could take three years to open after being ravaged by Superstorm Sandy, but transit officials said last week that at least part of the station should open in two years.
“We can’t have the impacts that people are experiencing today take many months,” Thomas Prendergast, president of New York City Transit Prendergast, also interim executive director of the M.T.A., told members of the City Council’s Transportation Committee Feb. 12.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority would either open the station in stages or reopen the old South Ferry station, said Prendergast.
At one point in his testimony, he said a partially opened station could resume running by this summer, but later backed away from that optimism.
“In the next two, three months we want to get it up and running,” he told the Council.
But immediately after the hearing, he walked the statement back with reporters saying he was “conveying the sense of urgency “of reopening the station that primarily serves Staten Island commuters and tourists visiting the Statue of Liberty, which has also ben closed since Sandy.”
He said he expected to have a plan to reopen the station within a few months. He said fully reopening the station would take about 24 months, but a staged opening would speed up that timeline.
He did not have cost estimates, but initially the M.T.A. estimated it would take about $600 million to open the station.
Prendergast said he expects to get about $8.8 billion in federal money from two Sandy relief funds — one to cover replacement of damaged equipment and one to take steps to mitigate damage from future storms.
He said a shuttle bus to the Rector St. station is not practical because of the throngs of people who use the station after leaving the Staten Island ferry.
It takes about 20 packed buses “swinging low” wih the weight of passengers to make up for one line of subway cars, he added.