MTA Chairman Jay Walder Announces Resignation
WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb With Reaction
His resignation is effective at the close of business on October 21.
“I want to thank Governors Cuomo and former Governor Paterson for the honor of serving the people of New York State,” Walder said in a press release.
“The MTA’s transportation system is the foundation of the metropolitan region and we are fortunate to have thousands of dedicated men and women who work so hard to provide these critically important transportation services to millions of people each and every day. I believe that we have accomplished quite a lot in a short period, with the support of two Governors, the Mayor, a hard-working Board and many others.”
Dick Ravitch, who was the MTA chief from 1979 to 1983, responded to a question asking whether ordinary New Yorkers would notice a difference with Walder gone.
“Riders are going to see the benefits of a lot of decisions that Jay made over the last year. I mean, they’ll see those good results over the next few years. But they’re also going to feel the pain of the fiscal plight that every governmental entity faces this day and age,” Ravitch told 1010 WINS.
“With the specter of drastic fare hikes on the horizon, we really need a new commissioner who’s looking out for the interests of the riders. And so, we’ll be watching very closely to see if the new commissioner does have the region — 9 million transit riders — at heart,” said Paul Steely White, of Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group that promotes public transit.
In a statement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg also thanked Walder for his work, saying “any city in the world would have been lucky to have him.” The mayor applauded the outgoing chief for projects including the 7 line extension, countdown clocks and gateless tolling on bridges.
“He is the type of person we can’t afford to lose, and his departure is a real loss for New York City, the metropolitan region, the state and the country,” Bloomberg said.
Walder joined the MTA in October of 2009 after working on London’s mass transit system.
He will go on to become CEO of the MTR Corporation in Hong Kong. It operates rail services in Asia and Europe.
Walder officially starts there on January 1, 2012, but will be named CEO Designate on November 1, 2011.
“This is an exciting opportunity for me to lead a publicly-traded, multi-national corporation with a broad set of business activities,” Walder said. “The MTR Corp. is widely recognized for its world-leading rail systems and the innovative property developments that are built around stations.”
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