The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s focus so far this summer has been on service disruptions and who pays for all the repairs. Now it’s finally getting around to fixing the management.
MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, who was recruited to return to the agency in June, smartly has split what had been the executive director’s job into two positions. It’s an impossible task to oversee the daily operations of the trains and buses along with the planning, deal-making and money management of the MTA’s $32.5 billion capital plan, which includes the LIRR’s third track and East Side Access.
Veronique Hakim, who served as interim acting director, is MTA’s new managing director in charge of LIRR, Metro-North and NYC Transit operations. Her handling of “summer of hell” emergency plans has been steady. We hope she soon gets to know the ins and outs of the LIRR as well as she does the subway system.
Pat Foye, a Long Islander with deep experience in the private and public sector, is the new MTA president. Most recently, he headed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where he created the successful public-private partnerships that overhauled the Goethals Bridge and that are now modernizing LaGuardia Airport. Those skills will be needed if the MTA is going to spend its money well.
He got positive train control, an anti-collision technology, implemented on PATH transit for New Jersey. Now he needs to get it done for the MTA systems. In managing assets, Foye should sell unneeded properties and create an education program to train workers for hundreds of unfilled jobs so maintenance doesn’t fall behind again.
Lhota has put a good team in place. Now it’s time to see what it can do. — The editorial board