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Cuomo Taps Former Madison Square Garden Honcho to Head MTA

By Ben Fractenberg | October 20, 2011 2:15pm
Joseph Lhota was picked by Governor Andrew Cuomo to run the MTA on Oct. 20, 2011.
Joseph Lhota was picked by Governor Andrew Cuomo to run the MTA on Oct. 20, 2011.
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The Madison Square Garden Company

MANHATTAN — Gov. Andrew Cuomo tapped Madison Square Garden exec Joseph Lhota, who served as deputy mayor under the Giuliani administration, to head up the MTA.

Lhota will replace Jay Walder, who took a job running Hong Kong's subway system after two years at the helm of the regional transit agency.

"I am pleased to accept the recommendation of the extraordinary search committee and nominate Joe Lhota to be the next chairman and CEO of the MTA," said Governor Cuomo in statement. "Joe Lhota brings one-of-a-kind managerial, government, and private sector experience to the job and a lifelong commitment to public service that will benefit all straphangers."

Lhota previously served as deputy mayor for operations under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani where he supervised city agencies. He also was budget director, where he oversaw the city's $36 million operating budget and $45 billion capital budget.

Currently, he serves as an Executive Vice President for Madison Square Garden.

The news comes just one day after Cuomo recommended Patrick Foye, his current Deputy Secretary of Economic Development, to become the Port Authority's next executive director.

Foye's appointment still needs to be approved by the Port Authority board.

"Millions of New Yorkers depend on the MTA every day and they deserve the most efficient and effective service," said Lhota in a statement. "Throughout my career in both the public and private sectors, I have initiated reforms that are performance-based and that cut costs, and I look forward to bringing this same approach to the MTA. I thank Governor Cuomo for this exciting opportunity to serve the people of New York."

Lhota's nomination needs to be approved by the New York State Senate. Walder's last day is Friday.