TSTC executive director Kate Slevin issued the following statement today in response to Gov. Cuomo’s nomination of Joseph Lhota to head the MTA:
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign welcomes the opportunity to work with Joseph Lhota as Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the MTA on our shared goals of fiscal stability and transportation progress for the agency.
Many challenges exist for the nation’s largest transit agency, such as:
- Ensuring dedicated taxes for transit, such as the payroll tax, remain intact and are not diverted to non-transit uses;
- Ensuring federal support for transit projects is not reduced;
- Fully executing the remaining three years (2012-2014) of the MTA’s construction and rebuilding program;
- The maintenance, and expansion, of service levels for the system’s subways, buses, and rails; and
- Keeping fares affordable despite growing agency debt.
Ridership throughout the system is steady and rising. 41 million more people rode the subways in 2010 than in 2007. Metro-North ridership increased 5.8% over the past year. Commuters need transit now more than ever and are relying on a strong leader who will promote transit as the engine for regional economic growth.
We hope Mr. Lhota’s business acumen will help guide the agency towards more sound fiscal footing without compromising service and affordability for the system’s 8.5 million daily riders. We also hope he will continue the innovative service improvements executed by his predecessor, including subway countdown clocks, rapid bus service, and nonstop tolling.
We urge the Senate to swiftly approve Governor Cuomo’s nomination for Chair/CEO of the MTA, Joseph Lhota.