Sarah Feinberg shall be nominated to turn into 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 traces, transit officers mentioned on Tuesday.
Ms. Feinberg, 42, an in depth ally of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, has steered town’s sprawling subway system by means of the pandemic, which has killed scores of employees 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 mentioned it went on for too lengthy and damage important employees who depend on the trains throughout off hours.
Ms. Feinberg has urged town to offer extra policing of the subway system and extra homeless outreach sources following a spate of high-profile assaults on riders and transit employees in latest 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 making an attempt 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 enables me to proceed to play a big function in how our subway and bus methods function, however to even have much more of an influence in shaping the way forward for the company, and of transportation on this metropolis and area,” Ms. Feinberg mentioned in a press release.
“There needs to be no increased precedence than making certain we’re doing all we will to deliver ridership again — and as ridership comes again, so will town’s financial restoration.”
Mr. Cuomo will nominate Ms. Feinberg to turn into 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 means of which Ms. Feinberg was tapped for such an necessary job.
Rachael Fauss, the senior analysis analyst for Reinvent Albany, a watchdog group, mentioned the chair of the transit company needs to be independently nominated by its personal board members slightly than handpicked by the governor. That mannequin is adopted by many companies and nonprofit organizations and was advisable by a 2008 fee on overhauling the transit company led by a former M.T.A. chief, Richard Ravitch.
“There needs to be no last-minute again room offers on a serious governance change for the state’s largest authority that serves hundreds of thousands of riders and manages a $17 billion working price range,” Ms. Fauss mentioned.
Ms. Feinberg would exchange Patrick J. Foye, the present M.T.A. chairman and chief govt, who’s leaving to turn into 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 accountable for operating day-to-day M.T.A. operations and oversee the company’s formidable 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 instances and unhealthy,” Mr. Lieber mentioned. “Now we have to preserve constructing a system that connects folks from all communities to jobs, training and alternative. I sit up for taking up this necessary new function and to guide M.T.A. in assist of the New York Metropolis area’s financial revival.”
Mr. Foye mentioned he was happy with the way in which the transit company had responded to the pandemic, particularly the transit employees who made positive that important employees and emergency responders have been in a position to get to their jobs when a lot of town was shut down.
“I do know the robust good points we have now made will proceed,” Mr. Foye mentioned.