Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lhota, raised in Pelham Bay, named head of MTA by Cuomo

Former Bronxite and current Madison Square Garden Inc. executive vice president Joe Lhota has been named chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority by Gov. Andrew Cuomo today.

"Joe Lhota brings one-of-a-kind managerial, government, and private sector experience to the job and a lifelong commitment to public service that will benefit all straphangers," Cuomo said. "I look forward to working together as we continue to reform the MTA, reduce costs, and improve service for New Yorkers. I thank the members of the MTA Search Advisory Committee for their diligent work and thorough review."

Current MTA chairman, Jay Walder, announced in July that he was leaving to run an international transportation company based in Hong Kong. Tomorrow is his last day.

"Millions of New Yorkers depend on the MTA every day and they deserve the most efficient and effective service," Lhota said in a statement. "Throughout my career in both the public and private sectors, I have initiated reforms that are performance-based and that cut costs, and I look forward to bringing this same approach to the MTA. I thank Governor Cuomo for this exciting opportunity to serve the people of New York."

Lhota, now a Brooklyn resident, received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and graduated cum laude from Georgetown. He has New York in his blood; he is the son of a retired NYPD lieutenant and the grandson of a FDNY firefighter.

New York City Council Transportation Chair James Vacca applauded the decision, citing Lhota's experience in city government. 

"The MTA will face a number of challenges in the years ahead, from preserving service for straphangers to completing many of the mega-projects across the city, all under the threat of further budget cuts. This is one of the most difficult jobs in the country,” Vacca said. “Joe Lhota’s successes as a Deputy Mayor for Operations and City Budget Director mean that he has the expertise and leadership needed to weather the storm ahead.

“I heard from Mr. Lhota today and was encouraged by his enthusiasm and also by the fact that he has roots in the outer boroughs. When I learned that he grew up in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx, in my district, I must confess feeling a sense of relief. This is not an out-of-towner. Mr. Lhota knows New York, he knows the transit system, and he knows the particular needs of folks in the outer reaches of the city. I look forward to working with him to improve service for all residents of this city." 

Former Bronx borough president Fernando Ferrer and current MTA board member said Lhota stood out amongst a number of other qualified candidates.

"Following an extensive search process, where we reviewed many top public transportation professionals, it was clear that Mr. Lhota was the best candidate for the position," Ferrer said. "He is a dedicated public servant with unparalleled expertise in business and government who will bring great energy and vision to the MTA."

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