LIRR president expected to resign amid ongoing train service complaints

NEW YORK — Long Island Rail Road President Patrick Nowakowski is expected to resign effective Friday, according to sources.

The agency has been beset by lagging train performance since he took the top post in 2014. Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota released a statement Wednesday night thanking Nowakowski for his four years of "steady and evenhanded leadership."

"I thank Pat for his service to LIRR customers and his steady and evenhanded leadership of the railroad at a time when external events caused challenges for the railroad, particularly Amtrak's renewal of tracks and infrastructure at Penn Station that the entire LIRR depends on," Lhota said.

The outgoing president said it was time for new leadership to continue the progress the railroad has made in improving customer service.

"I took a few days off to think about things. I'm pleased with the direction the railroad is headed under the Performance Improvement Plan, and I decided that now was a good time to step aside and allow new leadership to continue the progress we've begun to make on improving customer service."

In charge of the nation's largest commuter railroad since 2014, Nowakowski presided over the LIRR's declining performance and overtime expenses.

The commuter railway has been beset by numerous service complaints. Last year marked the LIRR's worst on-time performance in 18 years, where over 9 million riders were impacted with train delays and cancellations, according to the NYS Comptroller.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky released a statement regarding Nowakowski's resignation, saying commuters deserve a leader who will directly communicate with them.

"LIRR riders deserve a new leader who will demand immediate reform and who will level with and speak directly to them. Tough and no-nonsense leadership is needed urgently for one of the most important commuter rail systems in the country," the statement said.