Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today nominated Thomas F. Prendergast to serve as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Mr. Prendergast has served more than three years as president of MTA New York City Transit, which runs the subway and bus system in New York City, and has served as the MTA Interim Executive Director since January 1, 2013. He replaces Joseph Lhota.
Tom Prendergast is a consummate public transit leader who is the ideal candidate to oversee the nations largest transportation system, said Governor Cuomo. The MTA plays a vital role in New Yorks economy and the daily lives of the millions of commuters who use its services. Tom has vast experience in infrastructure and transportation and has spent years managing commuter railroads as well as New York Citys subways and buses. From the track bed to the budget to modernizing our system for the 21st Century, I cant imagine anyone having a better understanding of how the regions vast system operates and the challenges that it faces.
It is an incredible honor to be nominated to lead the largest transportation network in North America, and to work with Governor Cuomo and his administration on the many challenges facing the MTA, Prendergast said. The MTA will improve the customer experience, operate more efficiently and build for the future. And we will aggressively rebuild smarter and better in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Governor Cuomo has demonstrated his strong support of the MTA in fully funding our capital plan, in allocating additional funding to the MTA in his latest budget, and of course in his leadership during and after Sandy struck. I look forward to working with the governor, his management team, the MTA Board and the 66,000 dedicated employees of the MTA family.
In 2011, the Governors MTA Search Advisory Committee conducted a national search to find and recommend the most talented candidates to lead the MTA. Mr. Prendergast was highly recommended by the Committee, and Committee members were consulted in his nomination that was announced today. The advisory committee was composed of leading public transportation experts and management professionals in the public and private sectors.
The Governor's appointment of an MTA chairman and CEO is subject to Senate confirmation.
Mr. Prendergast is a career public transit officer and former MTA executive who was appointed President of MTA New York City Transit in November 2009. Prendergast, then the CEO at TransLink in Vancouver, B.C., returned to New York and took office December 1, 2009.
A native of Chicago, with a systems engineering degree from the University of Illinois, Mr. Prendergast began his career at the Chicago Transit Authority in 1975. From there, he joined the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, DC, then moved to the New York City Transit Authority in 1982 as Assistant Director of System Safety. In 1984, he was named Chief of the TAs System Safety Department. In 1987 he became Staten Island General Manager, and in 1989, the agencys Chief Electrical Officer. Then in 1991, he was named Senior Vice President of the Department of Subways.
In 1994, Prendergast left Subways SVP office at Jay Street in Brooklyn to become President of the Long Island Rail Road. In 2000, he left the public sector to work as a consultant in transportation. Over the next eight years, he worked on numerous project and program management assignments in the UK, North America and Asia. He returned to the public sector in 2008 with his move to TransLink, Vancouvers public transportation system.
Fernando Ferrer, Acting Chairman of the MTA, said, As a longtime public servant with broad expertise in transportation issues, Tom Pendergast will be a first rate leader for the M.T.A. He has served the M.T.A. well in his current and former positions, including playing an integral role in guiding the agencys successful preparations and response to Hurricane Sandy. Governor Cuomo could not have chosen a stronger or more qualified individual to lead the M.T.A.
"Tom Prendergast has the hands on skill and long commitment to transit to make a great head of the M.T.A. The Straphangers Campaign has found Tom to be accessible, knowledgeable, smart and fair," said Gene Russianoff, Staff Attorney for the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign.
Tom is a great choice to provide continuity of strong professional leadership of the MTA in the face of daunting fiscal challenges and with a major capital program underway. He will have the full confidence and support of the business community, said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City.
"I commend the Governor on a great choice. Tom Prendergast is a smart, dedicated transit engineer and a great leader. Its a great choice for mass transit, said Assemblymember Jim Brennan, Chairman of Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions.
Ive known Tom since I was the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation. He has always been a leading transportation professional, and he knows this business well. I expect great things for the MTA with Tom at the helm, said Joseph H. Boardman, President and CEO of Amtrak.
Desmond Ryan, Executive Director of Association for a Better Long Island (ABLI), said, The M.T.A. is a vital mode of transportation for commuters in Suffolk County, and Tom Prendegast has shown that he is equipped to handle that responsibility. Having helped lead the agency through the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, Mr. Prendergast has earned the respect of his peers, and he is clearly deserving of the State Senates approval. I applaud Governor Cuomo for this responsible nomination.