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MTA leader admits failures in blizzard

The council held a hearing on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's slow response to the Dec. 26 storm that dumped more than 2 feet of snow on parts of the city. The daylong session to examine the performance of subways and buses during the storm was the second in a week on the city's cleanup failure.

James Vacca, chairman of the council's transportation committee, noted that 650 buses got stuck in the snow and that an A-line subway with 500 passengers was left stranded for about seven hours between the Rockaway Boulevard and Aqueduct stations in Queens.

Tom Prendergast, president of MTA's New York City Transit, acknowledged the MTA did not have a situation room up and running to fully coordinate efforts among its systems and other city agencies, including the Office of Emergency Management.

"We were out of practice," Prendergast said.

The officials also said they were not aware of a blizzard forecast until it was too late for a proper response.

"We were lulled into a false sense of security on our own," said Prendergast, promising that his agency would review the shortcomings in the coming weeks.

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