MTA report vows better commute in next storm

SHEEPSHEAD BAY - Straphangers will have better commutes the next time a storm hits, according to an MTA report released Thursday in the wake of a tornado and torrential rainfall.

In the report released to Gov. Eliot Spitzer about the crippling August 8 storm, the MTA pledged to make sweeping reforms. The rainfall caused service at 10 Brooklyn and city subway stations to grind to a halt, leaving commuters stranded.

The agency is allocating $30 million to fund initiatives. Some upgrades include installing Doppler radar to track storms, increasing pump capacity and dispatching crews to ensure drains are clear of debris. The MTA also plans to improve customer communications with cell phone service on platforms.

The agency believes it will take hundreds of millions of dollars to implement all of the recommendations in the report.

The city's environmental protection commissioner has said the city is spending $300 million per year upgrading pipes and has been building a better drainage system.

Rainfall has disrupted subway service three times over the past seven months.

AP wire reports contributed to this story.

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