Ever since the "tempest" of August 2007, the MTA has been trying to assure the City that never sleeps that their bosses are not snoozing either, that they are awake and active, doing everything they can to protect NYC's transit from water disasters: they reported on elevation of ventilation grates and "building of other defenses." (Isn't it amazing how vague and unspecific the reports of supposed efforts are?) Anyway, they've spent nearly $100 million "making sure" that they can say to the water, "No Pasaran!"
How much of that money was used for actual work and how much was appropriated to service MTA's $31 billion debt (i.e. to pay interest) or cover $900 million gap of its annual operating budget (including executive salaries) - that we will never know. Yet, the City, even though fed up with MTA's bullshit, had no choice but to stick to "positive thinking" and hope that "everything will be Ok" (there is a reason the subway riders still clutch The Secret to their embattled chests, keeping it at a #1 spot on Mental and Spiritual Healing bestsellers list).
And then, Sandy, the wild child of the thoroughly raped Mother Nature, rowed in on a high tide. Her rage wasn't even that hard core. She wasn't planning on avenging all human sins against the poor planet. At no point she's raised her fists above 42 mph. But the relatively moderate amount of liquid she spat out choked the MTA to a total standstill. New York's ancient and pretty much dysfunctional drainage system couldn't absorb the incoming water and it went in straight through those elevated ventilation grates and whatever other openings it could find.
Newspapers and bloggers write that MTA's workers heroically battled the consequences of Sandy's anger. And that is absolutely right. Individual employees on and under the ground toiled around the clock in harsh conditions. As one comedian said many years ago, "We need to create disasters, so that we can have heroes." However, I imagine that while they were struggling, their bosses were singing hosanna to the storm for giving them stronger justifications to ask the public for more money, for much-much more money.
Liberals laud governor Cuomo for declaring in his post-Sandy speeches that we now live in a new climate reality, that people should get used to storms and hurricanes. (Big Fucking News! Some people have been screaming about it for years, for decades, and nobody wanted to listen!). The gratitude for stating the obvious makes the confused people hot for Andrew to the point that their urine boils inside. They overlook a simple truth that no politician does anything without a politically-motivated reason.
Yes, environmental policy, including eco-friendly transportation and energy efficiency, have always been a part of Andrew Cuomo's platform, but I don't remember him ever saying before that New York has become a target of continuous hurricanes. It's not that he is wrong - we have pushed the climate conditions into the dangerous territory. It's the timing of these "revelations" that bother me. Call me a cynic, but I hear an already familiar pattern here: the dark clouds are gathering over us, so the sacrifices for the sake of protection must be made.
And now, I will try to foretell the future events that will materialize out of this predicament. First - the rise of the transportation costs. The MTA already announced the impending hike (yet another one) of the tolls and fares to go into effect in March 2013. I predict that the Authority will use Sandy to justify much higher increases than usual. Originally they said that new city transit rates may go up to anywhere between 5% and 25%. I am sure that it will be at least 25%, most likely even more.
Then, the NYC government will be called into action to pitch in and, as a result, some sort of an additional levy will be imposed on NYC residents, both individual and commercial. Eventually, the State will do the same.
And you know what, we will not even complain. We will accept it as inevitable necessity. It's like with all "security" issues. Do you want another 09/11? Of course, not. So, submit yourself to surveillance cameras and telecommunications monitoring; take off your shoes and get a shot of X-rays in the airport. Do you want to be paralyzed by the absence of transportation and electricity next time the City is hit by the storm (and remember - it's going to happen soon)? No? Then, pay up and shut up.