May 7th is the day Peter Kalikow finally announced his attentions to step down as the MTA Chairman. Here is an article about Kalikow stepping down courtesy of 1010 Wins:
NEW YORK (AP) — Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter Kalikow said Monday that he will step down so that Gov. Eliot Spitzer can choose a new head of the agency that runs New York City buses and subways and two commuter railroads.
“I’m a firm believer in setting aggressive goals, accomplishing these goals and then giving others the opportunity to take on new challenges with new visions and new energy,” said Kalikow, a real estate developer and former publisher of the New York Post.
Kalikow was appointed to the MTA chairman’s post by Republican Gov. George Pataki in 2001 and re-appointed to a fresh six-year term last year.
But following the November election of Spitzer, a Democrat, Kalikow had indicated that he would resign by mid-2007.
“I have always been a supporter of term limits,” he said. “I think that people run out of steam, run out of ideas, run out of innovation. And I think that term limits are a good idea and I couldn’t support them unless I supported them by my own actions.”
Kalikow was joined by MTA Executive Director and CEO Elliot “Lee” Sander, who was Spitzer’s choice to run the agency day to day.
“Lee’s presence here makes my job easier,” he said. “I know that I’m leaving this place in good hands.”
Kalikow advised Sander to raise fares only as a last resort. “But do not keep the fares artificially low, which will cause disinvestment in our system,” he said.
Asked if there were plans to raise subway, bus and commuter rail fares in 2008, Sander said, “It is still a real possibility.”
During his tenure at the MTA, Kalikow helped obtain increased federal funding for subway cars and station rehabilitation and easier access for Long Islanders to Manhattan’s East Side. He also saw ground broken on a new Second Avenue subway line last month.
But a three-day transit strike that halted service on city buses and subways occurred on his watch in 2005.
“Make no mistake about it. This was a tough job,” he said. “I could actually take my jacket off and show you I have the bruises to prove it. Some of them more painful than others.”
Kalikow said he was proud to have overseen the rebuilding of facilities that were damaged in the 2001 terrorist attacks and to have consolidated formerly private bus companies. But he said there should ultimately be one bus system for the entire New York region. A merger of the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad was another unmet goal.
The Straphangers Campaign, a riders’ advocacy group, gave Kalikow mixed ratings for his stewardship of the MTA.
The group said Kalikow’s achievements included a $21.3 billion five-year capital rebuilding program and more transparent budget-making process. On the debit side, the straphangers said, he initially agreed to sell development rights to the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and the far West Side in Manhattan for less than the MTA’s own appraiser said they were worth.
Kalikow served previously as commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and owned the New York Post from 1988 to 1993. He is president of his family’s real estate company, H.J. Kalikow & Co., LLC.
He announced his resignation at 101 Park Ave., a midtown building his company developed.
Sander said Spitzer would name a new MTA chairman in the next several weeks.
Personally I am happy to see him go. I will not say that nothing was accomplished during Kalikow’s reign. However I did not agree with how he handled the job as a whole. I always got a bad vibe about how trustworthy he is. I don’t think someone from his walk of life is cut out to run the show for a working class operation. The mentality is not there to match the people he serves. Hopefully the next chairman will take the MTA to bigger & better things.