Joe Lhota resigns as MTA chairman

NEW YORK — Joe Lhota has resigned at the chairman of the MTA, Lhota and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.

He was appointed chairman in July of last year, and first served as chairman from January to December 2012.

Some riders and officials were surprised by the timing of the move. During last month's media availability after the board meeting, a reporter asked Lhota about his plans. The Chairman stated his current term runs to June 10, 2021.

MTA Vice Chair Fernando Ferrer will serve as Acting Chair until the Governor names a replacement which the state Senate will review and approve. Ferrer spoke to PIX11 News Reporter Greg Mocker and acknowledged there had been rumors Lhota was stepping down.

In comments to the media before the election, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who nominates commissioners to the MTA, indicated a need for some leadership changes.

In a series of follow-up tweets on Friday morning, Lhota provided a statement.

In part, Lhota thanks Cuomo and lauded his accomplishments and the employees while saying New York City's transit system has "a long way to go to achieve the performance that New Yorkers demand and deserve."

The Riders Alliance, a group that aims to organize public transit riders and "hold public officials accountable," according to the group's website, acknowledged Lhota's resignation and immediately called on Cuomo to appoint a replacement.

"We thank Joe Lhota for his second tour of service to transit riders. The chairman's job is important but the person who will really determine the future of public transit was just reelected on Tuesday. Governor Cuomo needs to appoint a capable chair, but most importantly he has to pass a funding package that will make the MTA's Fast Forward modernization plan a reality," Executive Director of the Riders Alliance John Raskin said.

During this period of service, Lhota restructured MTA leadership and created the Office Of The Chairman. He was allowed to keep his full-time job and positions on other boards, including Madison Square Garden.

He recused himself from decisions that involved those areas.