MTA faces pressure from Spitzer over storm failures

BROOKLYN - MTA officials claim the transit system is ready for the possibility of Friday?s stormy weather after failures during a tornado that tore through Brooklyn Wednesday.

The MTA held a meeting Thursday at its Manhattan office after Gov. Eliot Spitzer called for a report within 30 days on how the system broke down during Wednesday?s heavy rainfall. Lawmakers from the city and Albany were in attendance.

Trains were delayed, ran on alternate routes or didn?t run at all. Straphangers complained that announcements about service changes were few and far between. Many tried to catch cabs to no avail.

MTA Executive Director Elliot Sander said additional pumps are being placed at flood-prone locations in the city's subway system. Earlier, officials said they can only readily pump out one and a half inches of water from rails. However, the tunnels were flooded with three inches.

Sander said more workers are being added to man platforms and patrol stations to direct passengers and improve communications.

Tunnels have been pumped and drains cleared in preparation for the rainfall. The National Weather Service has issued flash flood warnings, but the rain is not expected to be as severe as Wednesday's.

The MTA has formed a panel of its own officials and outside experts to compile a report for Spitzer.

AP wire reports contributed to this story.

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