Leader of Subway Cleanup Chosen to be Next Chairman of M.T.A.
In an announcement made Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated Thomas Prendergast to serve as the next chairman and chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Prendergast, who first began working as a New York City transit official in 1982, stepped in as the authority's interim executive director after the former chairman Joseph Lhota resigned last December to run for mayor of New York City. Prendergast has also served as president of the Long Island Railroad and president of New York City transit.
"Tom Prendergast is a consummate public transit leader who is the ideal candidate to oversee the nation's largest transportation system," Gov. Cuomo said in a statement on Friday. "The M.T.A plays a vital role in New York's economy and the daily lives of the millions of commuters who use its services. Tom has vast experience in infrastructure and transportation and has spent years managing commuter railroads as well as New York City's subways and buses."
Prendergast, who called the appointment "an incredible honor," said Friday that he has high hopes for the future of the transit authority.
"The MTA will improve the customer experience, operate more efficiently and build for the future," Prendergast said in a statement. "And we will aggressively rebuild smarter and better in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy."
Before officially accepting the job, Prendergast must first be confirmed by the Senate.
Lhota, who served as chief of the M.T.A. for a little more than a year, said Friday that he had relied on Prendergast more than any other transit official.
"Tom Prendergast is a superb choice and he has a unique understanding of the system," Lhota told The New York Observer on Friday.
He also said that Prendergast played a large role in restoring New York City's damaged transit system following Superstorm Sandy in October.
"The reason the subway system responded so quicky coming back was Tom's leadership," Lhota said to The New York Times on Friday. "[Prendergast] cares more about the M.T.A.'s customers than anyone I know."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke broadly about Prendergast's strong relationship with New York City.
"For years, Tom Prendergast has proven to be an effective leader who brings a unique, deep understanding of MTA operations and can build upon the progress achieved by his predecessors," Bloomberg said in a statement. "From expanding Select Bus Service routes to the extension of the Number 7 train, the City has worked collaboratively and successfully in the past with Tom, and we look forward to continuing the relationship."