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Joe Lhota approved as new MTA chairman

Joe Lhota

Joe Lhota Photo Credit: Joe Lhota (Charles Eckert)

The state Senate unanimously approved Joe Lhota as the new chairman and chief executive officer of the MTA on Monday.

Lhota, 57, officially takes the helm of the cash-strapped transit agency, having served as its executive director for the last two months.

"As a life-long New Yorker and transit rider, I understand the importance of the MTA to New York's economy and the responsibility of being chairman," Lhota said in a statement after being confirmed. “I look forward to creating a more efficient and effective MTA for our riders and New York taxpayers."

A former deputy mayor and budget director under Rudy Giuliani, Lhota is charged with finding millions in savings and securing funding for the agency’s capital plan. He also has to quickly strike a deal with the Transport Workers Union, whose contract expires at the end of the week.

In his short time with the MTA, Lhota has already pledged not to make any additional cuts to service, though he objected to a proposal last month to restore cuts made in 2010. He has also said the agency plans to raise fares biennially.

Lhota was picked by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to replace Jay Walder, who abruptly left his post for a transit gig in Hong Kong.
 

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