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Superstorm Sandy

Council hearing on MTA's response to Sandy

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The MTA said repairing the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to its transit systems will cost $5 billion. And preparing for the next superstorm could cost another $4 billion.

The money will come from the federal government  and insurance, not fare hikes other than the March 1 increase, the MTA said.

At a City Council hearing on Tuesday about the MTA's Sandy response, New York City Transit President Tom Prendergast said his agency needs to be ready for more monster storms.

MTA officials said the authority has learned from each monster storm to hit the city in the last three years.

The December 2010 blizzard was a debacle where buses were sent out in deep snow without chains, got stuck, and blocked streets. The predicted flooding of Irene in 2011 prompted the MTA to shut down for the first time. That lesson was applied during Sandy last year.

The council members then gently inquired about future plans like coverings for subway station ventilation grids and giant rubber bubbles to cover the entrances of tunnels.

The chair of Community Board 1 said the Lower Manhattan economy needs the South Ferry station returned as soon as possible and even better preparation for the next super storm. The MTA said that in two to three months it will announce a timetable for when the station will be repaired. The MTA expects that timetable will be in less than the original two- to three-year estimate.

During the hearing, environmentalists and businessmen called for, respectively, more bicycle and ferry use.

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