New MTA CEO will emphasize funding, transparency
Jay Walder, the incoming MTA chief, stands next to Gov. David Paterson during the announcement of his appointment Tuesday.
Incoming MTA CEO Jay Walder and transit advocates agree that his first priority should be to provide secure funding for the agencys capital investment.
The challenge for the MTA is pretty clear. We must have a longterm financial solution, said Walder, 50, who joined Gov. David Paterson Tuesday in announcing his appointment as head of the worlds largest transportation provider.
Walder, who served a stint with the MTA 14 years ago and then went on to take a top role in the London transportation system, is poised to replace Elliot Lee Sander, who was pressured to leave the agency in May. Walder will serve a six-year term in a newly-created position merging the chairman and chief executive officer roles.
Walder, a Queens native, also emphasized Tuesday his goal of restoring public trust and financial transparency at the MTA but declined to discuss specifics.
Advocates, meanwhile, also had a ready list of tasks they would like Walder to focus his smarts on. They include:- Devising new budget oversight for the agency
- Reducing rush hour crowding
- Providing rapid bus service, especially in the boroughs
- Installing new technology, such as cell phone service in the subways
Those who know Walder described him as capable and articulate.
Hes just incredibly smart on the details and very straightforward, said Ellyn Shannon of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.
Paterson is gunning for Walder to be confirmed Wednesday, when the Senate reconvenes, according to a transit source. But Senate leaders said they want to hold a series of joint hearings on the candidate before the confirmation process.