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New York Morning Commute Outlook Is ‘Tough,’ Bloomberg Says

“It’s fair to say you’re going to have a tough commute in the morning,'' Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned New York City commuters today at a news conference describing the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene.

“There’s taxis, and some people can walk,” Bloomberg suggested.

Irene struck New York City with winds of 65 miles (105 kilometers) an hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in a special advisory. A storm surge of 3.8 feet was reported at New York Harbor and total water levels of 8.6 feet, or moderate-state flooding, were reported at Battery Park City in lower Manhattan before receding, the center said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates bus and commuter lines in and around New York suspended all service yesterday as Irene approached. MTA doesn’t yet have a schedule when transportation services will resume.

“All we have to do is run down the preliminary assessment of what’s happening with our services,” MTA Chairman Jay Walder said at the news conference he shared with Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP. The timing on “restoration of services will be made after these assessments are completed,” Walder said.

“I expect the first service we will be able to restore is our bus system,” Walder said. “The decision to get the buses out of harm’s way means the equipment is fine.”

The Metro North territory may have sustained the most damage, Walder said.

Metro-North Hardest Hit

Metro-North, the train line fanning out across the lower portion of New York state and into Connecticut has had widespread flooding, mudslides, and fallen trees hampering the New Haven, New Canaan, Hudson, and Harlem lines, said Marjorie Anders, a Metro-North spokeswoman.

Water covered the rails and was touching the electrified third rail at the Valhalla, Cortland and Ossining stations, she said. The track was washed out on the Port Jervis line between the Otisville and Middletown stations, she said.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey hasn’t yet made a decision on resuming service on the PATH commuter rail system, spokesman Ron Marsico said in an e-mail.

New Jersey Transit Corp. isn’t operating any buses, rail or light rail trains today, and hasn’t made a decision about services for tomorrow. Inspections of the rail system began at 10 a.m. local time, spokeswoman Courtney Carroll. She said the inspections would take six hours.

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