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MBTA official defends shutdown during blizzard

The MBTA’s chief operating officer, Sean M. McCarthy, said today he had no regrets about the T’s two-day shutdown during the weekend blizzard.

McCarthy said the storm inflicted almost no long-term infrastructural damage to MBTA’s aging and mechanically plagued system. Keeping the T closed from 3:30 p.m. Friday to 2 p.m. Sunday helped protect the T’s stock from the elements, allowing for the system to get back up and running after the storm without having to repair buses and trains damaged from the snow.

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“At the stage of their life that our vehicles are, we put a lot of capital and effort into nursing and keeping those vehicles safe and reliable,” McCarthy said. “To the extent that we can conserve that, it’s incumbent upon us to do that.”

The statewide driving ban and the hazards of driving through the snow also prevented much of the staff from getting to work until midday Sunday.

“Our employees are just regular folks,” McCarthy said.

An estimate on how much the blizzard cost the MBTA will be out by the end of this week, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said. Much of that sum, he said, will come from the labor costs of having staff working overtime over the storm to keep tracks clear and the stations protected from the elements.

Martine Powers can be reached at mpowers@globe.com
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