MTA Chairman/CEO Lhota Resigns

Fridays can sometimes be a slow news day but that was not the case in the transit world as he were hit with a bombshell. MTA CEO & Chairman Jospeh Lhota resigned from his posts effective immediately days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo won a third term.

Sudden departures are nothing new for Lhota who stepped down at the end of 2012 after helping the agency through Hurricane Sandy to run for mayor of New York City.

During his second stint at the agency, his biggest accomplishments were getting more than $800M into the agency for repair work & new hires. However all was not well as he recently was receiving harsh criticism from watchdogs for having multiple jobs including sitting on the board at MSG which could be seen as  a huge conflict of interest.

Soon after his departure, the MTA sent me this letter to share:

The following letter was sent this morning from MTA leadership to all MTA staff:

MTA Family-
After working with you to save the transit system following Superstorm Sandy and returning for a second tour as Chairman, Joe Lhota is leaving the MTA today. We are extremely grateful for the steady leadership he provided during his tenure. Joe launched the Subway Action Plan,  reinvigorated the MTA and set us on the path to success. His focus on delivering better daily service for our customers and prioritizing cost containment and procurement reform initiatives and working to create long-term sustainable funding sources were the hallmarks of his time leading the board.
While Joe may be departing – our relentless focus on our customers remains unchanged.
Thanks to your hard work, the MTA is well-positioned for a renaissance. New Yorkers recognize the value of reinvestment in our transit infrastructure and the groundwork has been laid for a long-overdue renewal. At the same time, at each of your agencies and at MTA Headquarters we are finding new and innovative ways to do our jobs and deliver results for the region. That work goes on and our commitment to support you is steadfast.
Every day you help millions of people get to work, school, and anywhere else they want or need to go. You may not realize it but you are the engine that makes the entire New York metropolitan region run. So thank you for all that you do now and what we will all accomplish together in the future.
Fernando Ferrer, Acting Chairman MTA
Veronique Hakim, Managing Director
Pat Foye, President
Janno Lieber, Chief Development Officer
Bob Foran, Chief Financial Officer
Now here is a statement from Gov. Cuomo & now former MTA CEO & Chairman Joseph Lhota:

Statement from Governor Cuomo:

“Joe Lhota has dedicated decades of his life to public service culminating in two tours of duty at the helm of the MTA. He stabilized the subway system, appointed a new leadership structure to completely overhaul the MTA, and led with a steady hand during some of the agency’s most challenging moments. In short, Joe demonstrated time and again why he was the right person for the job. I am deeply grateful for his service to the State of New York.

“In accordance with MTA bylaws, Vice Chair Fernando Ferrer will serve as Acting Chair while we prepare to name a permanent replacement for when the Senate returns in January.”

Statement from Joseph Lhota:

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Governor Cuomo for the trust and support he has given me. His non-stop drive, enormous energy and vision are re-creating a better and stronger MTA. The Governor understands the over-arching importance of mass transit for the people and the economy of New York. His commitment and robust support to enhance and modernize the MTA into an integrated 21st century transportation system is unmatched and unwavering.

“In late spring 2017, following a well-documented period of rapid deterioration of transit services, I volunteered to become MTA chairman with the sole purpose of halting the decline of service and stabilizing the system for my fellow New Yorkers.

“The Subway Action Plan was developed in my first month at the MTA and it has successfully arrested the subway’s decline. The plan has produced a 34.8% decline in major subway incidents causing delays (a comparison of 9/2017 to 9/2018). In September 2018 the number of total train delays fell to the lowest point since February 2016. There is still a long way to go to achieve the performance that New Yorkers demand and deserve. The proposed Fast Forward plan provides the roadmap for modernizing the entire system.

“When I agreed to return to the MTA it was with the understanding that I would maintain my private sector positions and delegate day-to-day responsibility to a new team. Accordingly, I created the Office of the Chairman for the purpose of managing the MTA. This office includes the managing director, president, chief development officer and chief financial officer. In addition, during my tenure I have appointed new leadership at the operating agencies by selecting new presidents at NYC Transit, Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, a new general counsel and a new MTA chief safety officer. Together, they work every second of every day to further stabilize and enhance the MTA for the benefit of all New Yorkers.

“Finally, anyone who knows me will have a keen understanding of the appreciation and admiration that I have for the men and women of the MTA. Every day, they enable 9+ million New Yorkers to safely get to work, go to school, meet dates, have doctor’s appointments and get home via anyone of the MTA’s assets. Next time you see a subway, bus, railroad or bridge/tunnel worker, please thank them for their service.”

As of now, Fernando Ferrer will once again take over until a new leader is in place which begs to question, who wants to take this job considering how unpopular the position is?

One thing that is definitely needed is the best person for the job regardless of their gender or race unlike the completely asinine virtue signaling from some who want to force feed their agenda on what the hire should be. Hopefully the decision will be made without the consideration of the virtue signaling & clueless clowns out there who clearly rather push their agenda over the needs of the agency.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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