Transit officials are ill-prepared to effectively deploy personnel and resources to prevent hurricane flooding, the MTA Inspector General’s Office said Wednesday.
An IG audit found the MTA underestimated how long it would take to deploy $350 million of flood control devices installed since Hurricane Sandy, leaving the system vulnerable to severe water damage .
MTA workers tasked with deploying the devices, meanwhile, receive only “random” training, according to the report — and officials lack an effective database to track when the devices were deployed. flood break, found the IG.
“Runners and residents of New York are counting on the MTA to properly and efficiently deploy millions of dollars worth of flood control devices when the time comes, and a hurricane is on the way,” Acting IG Elizabeth Keating said in a statement. communicated.
“Many opportunities remain for the MTA to improve its hurricane preparedness plans.”
The 3,500 devices include thousands of vent covers and closures as well as 75 “flex doors” installed at subway entrances – all designed to prevent harmful hurricane stormwater from entering the system.
Still, a “mock deployment exercise” in Queens last year revealed “several” problems in deploying the devices, many of them due to poor maintenance, according to the IG.
The mock deployment also “highlighted the need for more formal training that
must be tracked and documented for each employee,” the report said — noting that workers deploying vent covers took “longer than expected” due to lack of experience.
Additionally, MTA workers did not deploy all relevant flood prevention devices during the Queens trial, leading IG to fear that the MTA does not have an accurate estimate of how long it will take. needs to effectively prepare for a storm scenario.
“NYC Transit has not collected sufficient information on deployment timelines, which is necessary to verify that all required deployments are feasible,” IG auditors wrote.
The $350 million came from nearly $8 billion in Federal Transit Administration grants given to the MTA in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Seawater prepared by the 2012 “super storm” severely damaged New York’s subway infrastructure, forcing the MTA to close and repair several undersea tunnels.
“This report highlights the significant steps NYC Transit has already taken in partnership with MTA Construction & Development to tackle a complex but vital task,” MTA spokesman Michael Cortez said in a statement. “NYC Transit is uncompromisingly committed to resilience, investing $5.8 billion to strengthen the transit system against coastal flooding.”