New York MTA chairman resigns

Chief of Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North, and the subway system quit his post unexpectedly Friday morning
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NEW YORK — Joseph Lhota, chairman of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority resigned suddenly from his position Friday morning. Reasons behind the resignation are unclear as of Friday afternoon.

The MTA, a state authority, oversees the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Commuter Railroad, and the New York City Transit Authority. New York Mayor Bill De Blasio learned of the resignation while participating on a local radio show. The mayor said on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show that the MTA's bigger issue is funding from the state Legislature.

"No one is going to be able to get the work done to fix the subways and buses if we don't have a permanent funding source," de Blasio said on the air.

MTA funding has been a sticking point in state-city relations since the agency's creation in 1978.

Lhota was named chairman last year as repeated subway breakdowns became a major issue. He had served a previous term as chairman, but left in 2013 to run for mayor of New York.

Appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Lhota agreed to do the job on a part-time basis, while remaining chief of staff at New York University Langone Medical Center. Serving as chairman on both boards had been seen by some as controversial, as reported in June by The New York Times.

In answer to a journalist’s question about this after October’s MTA board meeting,
Lhota was asked about whether he had considered resigning over his possible conflicts of interest.

“The premise is wrong. I did not consider resigning from the MTA ... I never did," Lhota said. When asked how much longer he would hold the position, Lhota answered, "My term ends on June 2021. That's my term."

Cuomo's administration and the MTA will immediately begin a search for a new chairman, while the new acting chairman will be its current vice chairman, Fernando Ferrer.

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