New York City

Gov. Cuomo announces appointment of Joe Lhota as chairman of MTA

June 22, 2017 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced the appointment of Brooklyn Heights resident Joseph Lhota to serve as the chairman of the MTA. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced the appointment of Joe Lhota to serve as the chairman of MTA. In this role, Lhota will direct the executive management team to address the current crisis facing MTA. As chairman, Lhota will receive a salary of $1 per year, and delegate day-to-day CEO duties to a permanent executive officer, a position for which the search is ongoing,

“Joe Lhota is a tested and experienced leader with the proven track record needed to address the enormous challenges facing the nation’s largest mass transportation system,” Cuomo said. “In the wake of the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, Joe stepped up and delivered for New Yorkers — ensuring our region’s subways, buses and commuter rails were up and running as quickly as possible.

“There is much hard work to be done to address the MTA’s current failures and the level of service and daily frustrations commuters are experiencing are completely unacceptable. I know Joe will move to address these issues immediately and ensure a reliable and effective transportation system worthy of the city it serves.”

“This is an incredibly challenging time for the MTA and we will immediately and aggressively tackle the problems the system is facing after decades of disinvestment,” said Lhota. “The hardworking women and men of the MTA are dedicated, driven and talented — they are the engine that makes our city and state run — and working together we will rebuild the system and improve service for all New Yorkers. It is an honor to once again serve the people of New York, and I am grateful to Gov. Cuomo for his support and this nomination.”

Lhota, a Brooklyn Heights resident, previously served as the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of MTA. Prior to that, Lhota served as the NYC deputy mayor for operations where he oversaw day-to-day management of the city and supervised city agencies. 

“Today, New York City straphangers and commuters were given a great gift,” state Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis said. “Joe Lhota returning ‎to the MTA as chairman is a step in the right direction. Joe Lhota has the experience, skills and guts to clean up the subway mess our mayor doesn’t want to touch. Thank you, Gov. Cuomo for a good pick for all New Yorkers.”

Lhota also served as budget director, where he managed the city’s $36-billion operating budget and $45-billion capital budget, cut costs, led agency reorganizations and consolidations, and implemented performance-based strategic planning. Before that, Lhota was the commissioner of finance for New York City. 

“Joe Lhota is a true New Yorker who knows first-hand what it takes to successfully operate the country’s largest transportation agency, making him the ideal candidate to assume the role of MTA chairman,” said New York Building Congress President and CEO Carlo Scissura. “His leadership and expertise were continuously displayed throughout his previous tenure with the MTA, most notably following Superstorm Sandy, when subways returned to service within days. The New York Building Congress looks forward to working with Joe and the MTA to accomplish the necessary modernization and expansion of the city’s transit system.”

Lhota will continue to serve as senior vice president, vice dean and chief of staff at NYU Langone Medical Center. 

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Andrew Hoan said, “The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce extends its congratulations to our very own Executive Board Member, Joe Lhota, on his returning role as chairman of the MTA. Joe is a true leader who understands the complexities and challenges of improving transportation throughout the borough, and the rest of New York City, and will once again prove successful in his new position.”

Lhota graduated from Georgetown University, where he earned a bachelor of science in business administration and received his master of business administration from the Harvard Business School.

“Joe Lhota is a respected professional who has valuable experience as MTA chair,” said John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance. “The question remains, what is the governor’s plan to fix the subway, and will he give Chairman Lhota the funding he needs to get the job done?”