A Transit Chief in the Mayor's Office?

MTA leader Joe Lhota is expected to resign today to prepare for a mayoral run.

Image
Reuters

It looks like Joe Lhota will try to take the A train all the way to Gracie Mansion.

Lhota, the chairman of New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority, is expected to send a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo* today announcing his resignation in preparation for a bid for mayor.

Lhota has been widely praised for leading the city's mass transit, and particularly its flooded subway system, to a speedy recovery after Hurricane Sandy, a record that will help him in a mayoral field where the early favorites -- City Council speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio -- have little executive experience. William Thompson and John C. Liu, former and current comptrollers, respectively, will also compete for the Democratic nomination.

Since the MTA chairman is a Republican, he may enjoy a less contested path to the general election. Though New York's voters are heavily Democratic, they have not elected a Democrat for mayor since David Dinkins in 1989. And as a deputy mayor under Rudolph Giuliani, Lhota may have the city's most famous Republican on his side: The New York Times reports that the former mayor may take an active role in his campaign.

While Lhota looks ahead, his record with the MTA -- positive budget record and fifteen minutes of fame aside -- may leave something to be desired. He has occupied the revolving door position of chairman for a mere 14 months, and his last big act will be sponsoring a fare hike to $2.50 per ride.

Top image: Reuters.

*Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the name of the governor of New York -- it is Andrew Cuomo, not Mario Cuomo.

About the Author

  • Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.