News

November 20, 2012

Warnings of a Sandy-like catastrophe did not motivate MTA to prevent significant damage to city infrastructure

More articles by »
Written by: Brandon Jordan
Tags: , , , , ,

Evidence of a Hurricane Sandy-like disaster was presented to the MTA as far back as 2007, according to reports by groups and climate scientists.

While Queens College students are still coping with the destruction by the hurricane in terms of housing and transportation, such a disaster could have prevented. The MTA, however, did not act upon the advice or warnings made by these individuals and groups.

As New Yorkers felt frustrated by the delay with trains and buses, it seems much of the damage could have been minimal based on the reports and testimonies provided by the Blue Ribbon Commission. As MTA workers have gone 11 months without a contract, it implies that the MTA does not want to invest its money in an area that does not relate to its debt. Its $32 billion debt is a major talking point within the MTA and is expected to grow to $39 billion by 2015, as estimated by the Citizens Budget Commission.

After Hurricane Irene, former MTA chief Jay Walder told city officials, “The worst fear we had, which was that the under river tunnels on the East River would flood with salt water, were not realized. We certainly dodged something there.”

Hurricane Irene struck in August of last year and was estimated by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to cost $15.6 billion. In comparison, Sandy is estimated to cost $50 billion. Since Irene, the MTA has not reinforced its 108-year-old infrastructure.

Klaus Jacob, a Columbia University climate scientist and his research team, released a report that warned of a Sandy-like event and its impact upon the infrastructure of the MTA. He later showed his evidence to the MTA and asked whether they had any plans in case of flooding.

“There was a big silence in the room because the system is so old. Many of the items that would be damaged by the intrusion of the saltwater into the system could not recover quickly,” he said.

In the report, Jacob and his team recommended certain priorities for the MTA to act upon, such as elevating “critical infrastructure” because of flood zones, protecting against “coastal hazards” with “levees, sea walls, barriers and pumping facilities,” and alliances with regional agencies to reduce risks with future natural disasters. Such actions would have incurred a “4:1” benefit to cost ratio that would have decreased the $50 billion estimate as mentioned in the report.

Fare hikes will still be a top priority for the MTA in spite of the damage of Hurricane Sandy. Before Sandy hit, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota strongly suggested a recent hike in the fare from $2.25 to $2.50. After the hurricane, there seems to be alternative fare increases on the table as recent hearings have taken place regarding different fare increases.



About the Author

Brandon Jordan
Brandon is a sophomore at Queens College and covers various news stories for The Knight News. He is majoring in both Political Science and Economics, with a minor in Business and Liberal Arts (BALA).




Advertisement
 
 

 
Photo by Brandon Jordan

Witnessing the end of apartheid through a former diplomat’s eyes

Former Greek ambassador Loucas Tsilas spoke at Godwin-Ternbach Museum in Klapper Hall on Nov. 12 to reflect on his time in South Africa during the end of apartheid. The lecture was a part of the Short Course on South Africa ser...
by Brandon Jordan
0

 
 
 

Op-Ed: CUNY Board of Trustees Set to Eliminate Your Right

The Board of Trustees of the City University of New York, despite continuous opposition from elected student leaders, is set to strip students of a fundamental right: the right to remain silent without the assumption of guilt d...
by Lucas Almonte
0

 
 
 

Queens College joins CUNY 2020 program’s investment plans

An economy bouncing back is ripe for investments; the CUNY 2020 program incentivizes the colleges to create economically stimulating ideas and compete with other CUNY schools. CUNY 2020 is a “Challenge Grant Program” that p...
by Fernando Echeverri
0

 

 
Photo by Jordi Sevilla
Author Rupert Isaacson spoke on Oct. 29 about a healing method with children diagnosed with autism.

Rupert Isaacson discusses horse therapy and its effects on autism

The Committee for Disabled Students presented “Autism and Healing with Rupert Isaacson” on October 29 in Rosenthal Library. The presentation served as a means to discuss the healing effects horses have on families with auti...
by Nina Bakoyiannis
0

 
Advertisement
 
Photo by Brandon Jordan
On Oct. 23, a symposium delivered in Rosenthal Library 230 focused on issues like education for black youths in the U.S.

Conference looks ahead and draws lessons from Civil Rights Movement

The Africana Studies Program and the National Congress of Black Women hosted a symposium reflecting on the Civil Rights Movement as well as ways for black youths to progress in terms of education on Oct. 23 in Rosenthal Library...
by Brandon Jordan
0

 




Advertisement

0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Advertisement