Cuomo nominates Feinberg to chair MTA board, Lieber as MTA president

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New South Ferry
The new South Ferry subway station as seen on May 31, 2012. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

(The Center Square) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated Sarah Feinberg, who has served as New York City Transit’s interim president since March 2020, as the new chair of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board.

Feinberg, a former Federal Railroad Administration (FTA) administrator, would be the first woman to serve as the MTA’s board chair.

The embattled governor also appointed Janno Lieber, the current president of MTA Construction & Development, as CEO of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Pat Foye, who has led the MTA as president, chairman and CEO for four years, will leave on July 30 and take the role of interim president and CEO of Empire State Development.

“Sarah, Janno and Pat are … proven leaders who kept the metropolitan region’s transportation network operating efficiently through the worst public health crisis in a generation,” Cuomo said in a news release.

The Cuomo administration credited Lieber and Feinberg with shaping and pushing a $51.5 billion 2020-24 Capital Program to its approval.

Lieber, a U.S. Department of Transportation official under President Bill Clinton, was involved in the $11 billion East Side Access project, which recently completed its civil construction phase, to bring Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) trains into Grand Central Terminal. The administration also credited him with spearheading a push to secure $14 billion in federal taxpayer funds amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Feinberg, NYC Transit implemented the nation’s first mask mandate on public transit amid the pandemic. More recently, she has clashed with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over crime in the subway.

“My concern is I don’t feel heard by the Mayor. And I feel like he is desperate to have a political fight about this. And that’s not what this is,” Feinberg told Up Close With Bill Ritter on ABC 7 New York, according to a transcript.

“We’ve got to make sure that people feel safe and secure. That is what will bring them back,” Feinberg added. “… They’re still worried about crime and harassment because the system doesn’t feel right, right now. And if you’re riding the system as I said, you can feel it. And that’s what’s key and that’s what I think the Mayor is missing.”

The state Senate must approve Feinberg’s nomination, and Bloomberg reported the nominations are expected to take effect on July 30.

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