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Patrick Foye tapped as new MTA chairman, officials say

Foye, 62, has served as president of the MTA — a title created for him — since returning to the agency in August 2017.

Patrick Foye has been tapped as the next

Patrick Foye has been tapped as the next MTA chairman by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo Credit: Danielle Silverman

Patrick Foye, a Port Washington resident and regular LIRR commuter, has been tapped to lead the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as its new chairman, Foye and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office said Friday.

The announcement came the same day news surfaced that another important voice for Long Islanders on the MTA board, longtime Suffolk representative Mitchell Pally, will be replaced by Long Island Association president Kevin Law.

Foye, 62, has served as president of the MTA — a title created for him — since returning to the agency in August 2017. He previously served as executive director of the Port Authority for six years.

Cuomo, breaking the news during an interview with WCNY Radio, called Foye “a really extraordinary public servant.”

Cuomo’s nomination of Foye has to be confirmed by the State Senate. If approved, Foye would replace acting chairman Fernando Ferrer, who has filled the position since Joseph Lhota resigned in November.

In a statement Friday, Foye thanked Cuomo “for this honor and opportunity.”

"As a lifelong rider — and a daily customer — of the MTA, I can think of no higher honor or more important challenge than serving at the helm of an agency that connects millions of people each day to their jobs, schools, families and friends,” Foye said. “There is no question that we have a great deal of work ahead of us, to bring truly innovative and meaningful reform to the agency and provide the service and system New Yorkers deserve."

An attorney, Foye first became involved in public transportation while working as head of downstate economic development under Gov. Eliot Spitzer, helping spearhead plans for transformation of the Farley post office building in Manhattan into the Moynihan Train Hall.

Foye also previously worked as president and chief executive of the United Way of Long Island, and in 2010 was hired by then-Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano to serve as his deputy county executive for economic development. While holding that job, Foye also served as Nassau’s representative on the MTA board from 2010 until 2012, and pushed for improvements at the LIRR and inside Penn Station.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran on Friday called Foye "a proud Nassau County resident who has served us with distinction."

“The challenges facing the MTA have never been greater, so I’m glad to see they’ll have an experienced hand at the helm in Pat Foye," Curran said. "I’m confident that he will be a strong voice for Long Island’s commuters at the MTA.” 

Foye also publicly has supported proposals to use Cuomo’s proposed congestion pricing plan to help fund improvements on the LIRR. On Wednesday, a source close to budget negotiations said the State Legislature had reached a deal to earmark 10 percent of revenue generated from congestion pricing to the LIRR.

When asked by Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) about the MTA’s plans to address failing LIRR service at an Albany legislative hearing in January, Foye held up his monthly Port Washington branch railroad ticket and noted he is “a Long Island Rail Road commuter every day.”

Kaminsky on Friday called the news of Foye’s nomination “a positive step.”

“I think the fact that he’s a Long Islander and he uses the Long Island Rail Road is extremely important,” said Kaminsky, who noted Foye has spent a lot of time in Albany in recent weeks talking to legislators from Long Island. “If we have people who understand the plight of the Long Island Rail Road rider, it can only be helpful, And, frankly, things are in such a tough spot that I think any change is good.”

Pally will be leaving the MTA board after 14 years, many of those as the board’s only Long Island representative. Reached for comment Friday, Pally said it was Cuomo’s choice to replace him with Law, whom he praised as “a true Long Islander who will fight for the Island.”

Law's Long Island Association is a nonprofit business and planning group. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who recommended Law to the post, thanked Pally on Friday for his service and credited him as a “driving force behind protecting commuters” in the county, including by successfully pushing for the construction of the recently completed second track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma.

“Few individuals have had as transformative an impact on our regional transportation system as Mitch Pally,” Bellone said.

Pally was a frequent voice of dissent on the MTA board, including during several proposals over the years to raise fares. His removal from the board comes as Cuomo has maneuvered in recent months to gain influence within the MTA.

Cuomo last month appointed David Mack to the vacant position of Nassau representative on the MTA board. Mack previously held the role until stepping down amid an investigation by then-state Attorney General Cuomo into corruption in the State Police force, on which Mack held a position as deputy superintendent.

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