Sarah Feinberg shall be nominated to turn out to be the primary lady to guide the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the biggest public transit system in North America, chargeable for operating New York Metropolis’s subway, buses and two commuter prepare strains, transit officers stated on Tuesday.
Ms. Feinberg, 42, a detailed ally of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, has steered town’s sprawling subway system by the pandemic, which has killed scores of staff and sickened hundreds extra whereas decimating the transit system’s ridership and cratering the company’s funds.
She additionally oversaw the primary in a single day shutdown of the subway in its historical past. The transfer allowed for intensive cleanings, however some public transit advocates stated it went on for too lengthy and damage important staff who depend on the trains throughout off hours.
Ms. Feinberg has urged town to supply extra policing of the subway system and extra homeless outreach assets following a spate of high-profile assaults on riders and transit staff in current months.
However that has additionally led critics to accuse her of exaggerating crime within the subway and scaring off riders at a time when the system is attempting to persuade folks to return. Subway ridership nonetheless stands at lower than half of its prepandemic stage of 5.5 million each day weekday riders.
“I’m thrilled to be stepping right into a place that permits me to proceed to play a major position in how our subway and bus techniques function, however to even have much more of an impression in shaping the way forward for the company, and of transportation on this metropolis and area,” Ms. Feinberg stated in an announcement.
“There must be no greater precedence than guaranteeing we’re doing all we will to convey ridership again — and as ridership comes again, so will town’s financial restoration.”
Mr. Cuomo will nominate Ms. Feinberg to turn out to be the chairwoman of the M.T.A.’s 21-member board, which is appointed by state, metropolis and regional officers. Her nomination must be confirmed by the New York State Senate.
Some transportation advocates and watchdog teams have criticized the method by which Ms. Feinberg was tapped for such an necessary job.
Rachael Fauss, the senior analysis analyst for Reinvent Albany, a watchdog group, stated the chair of the transit company must be independently nominated by its personal board members relatively than handpicked by the governor. That mannequin is adopted by many firms and nonprofit organizations and was really useful by a 2008 fee on overhauling the transit company led by a former M.T.A. chief, Richard Ravitch.
“There must be no last-minute again room offers on a significant governance change for the state’s largest authority that serves hundreds of thousands of riders and manages a $17 billion working finances,” Ms. Fauss stated.
Ms. Feinberg would change Patrick J. Foye, the present M.T.A. chairman and chief govt, who’s leaving to turn out to be interim president and chief govt of Empire State Growth, the state’s financial growth company.
However Ms. Feinberg would solely assume a part of Mr. Foye’s job.
Janno Lieber, who oversees the transit company’s capital initiatives, shall be appointed by Governor Cuomo to take over for Mr. Foye as chief govt of the transit company. He shall be in command of operating day-to-day M.T.A. operations and oversee the company’s bold effort to modernize the transit system.
“The COVID disaster proved — as soon as once more — that mass transit is New York’s linchpin, in good occasions and dangerous,” Mr. Lieber stated. “Now we have to hold constructing a system that connects folks from all communities to jobs, schooling and alternative. I look ahead to taking up this necessary new position and to guide M.T.A. in help of the New York Metropolis area’s financial revival.”
Mr. Foye stated he was happy with the way in which the transit company had responded to the pandemic, particularly the transit staff who made positive that important staff and emergency responders have been capable of get to their jobs when a lot of town was shut down.
“I do know the sturdy good points now we have made will proceed,” Mr. Foye stated.