Nearly three weeks after the Great Snow Disaster of 2010, the City Council is still relishing the opportunity to rake city agencies over the coals. On Monday, it launched its snow inquisition by pressing several city hall officials. Today, it was the MTA’s turn.
NYC Transit president Thomas Prendergast said the agency let itself get “lulled into a false sense of security” and blamed the MTA’s response on two big mistakes: failing to deploy emergency workers, and not setting up a “situation room” to handle the storm. And he said the MTA was understaffed due to the Christmas holiday.
The hearing was also, as these things always are, a great opportunity for political grandstanding. And grandstand, they did! City Council Speaker Christine Quinn berated the MTA, calling its response “shocking” and “beyond ridiculous,” and scolding Prendergast for not providing written copies of his testimony before the hearing (she called that move “outrageous” and “disrespectful”).
Then again, she probably had a point. City Councilman James Vacca, who chairs the council’s transportation committee, said almost 1,000 buses got stuck in the snow over that crippling weekend, along with a notorious A train that stranded 500 passengers in Queens for seven hours. Oops.