Immediately after Hurricane Sandy battered the New York City region, Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Joseph Lhota acknowledged the fragility of the aging subway, commuter rail and bridge-and-tunnel system.

"This is a 100-year-old system," Lhota said at a news conference. "Think of it as a 90- to 100-year-old patient that got into an accident and is in the hospital. Things always happen when you get in the hospital that you don't expect."

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