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Cuomo chooses Prendergast to serve as head of the MTA

Thomas Prendergast would step in as chairman of the MTA after Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated him for the position. Photo courtesy Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin
TimesLedger Newspapers

Thomas Prendergast has been nominated to be chairman of the MTA by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who called him “a consummate public transit leader.”

He succeeds Joseph Lhota, who resigned Dec. 31 after 13 months in office to run for mayor.

Prendergast must be approved by the state Senate before taking office, but that is considered a formality.

“Tom Prendergast is a consummate public transit leader who is the ideal candidate to oversee the nation’s largest transportation system” Cuomo said. “From the track bed to the budget to modernizing our system for the 21st century, I can’t imagine anyone having a better understanding of how the region’s vast system operates and the challenges that it faces.”

The governor pointed out that Prendergast played an integral role in guiding the agency’s successful preparations and response to Hurricane Sandy.”

A native of Chicago, Prendergast has most recently served as president of New York City Transit, which operates buses and subways. He also served six years as president of the Long Island Rail Road.

Prendergast called his selection “an incredible honor.”

“I look forward to working with the governor, his management team, the MTA board and the 66,000 dedicated employees of the MTA family,” he said.

Prendergast holds a systems engineering degree from the University of Illinois. He began his career at the Chicago Transit Authority in 1975 and moved to the New York Transit Authority in 1982.

He has served in transit capacities not only in New York but in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; the United Kingdom; North America; and Asia.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Interim Chairman Fernando Ferrer said, “As a longtime public servant with broad experience in transportation issues, Tom Prendergast will be a first-rate leader for the MTA.”

Since Virgil Conway left office in 2001, Peter Kalikow, Dale Hemmerdinger, Jay Walder and Lhota have served as MTA chairmen.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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