The Empire State Transportation Alliance – a coalition of business, civic, labor and environmental organizations supporting investment in transportation – today released the following statement:
Today’s announcement by Governor Paterson that Jay Walder has been nominated the new Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is welcome news indeed. Mr. Walder has had a distinguished career in the transportation world, both with the MTA in the 1980s and early ’90s and then with Transport for London, where he was Chief Financial Officer. During his stint at TFL London began to rebuild its extensive Underground and bus systems and initiated its congestion pricing system. He has served most recently as a senior official with McKinsey, the management consultant firm, on transportation management and finance issues.
Earlier this year the legislature adopted $2 billion in new annual taxes, tolls and fees needed to meet the agency’s operating budget needs for the coming two years. However, this process revealed deep skepticism in Albany and among the public and some of the media about the MTA’s credibility.
“Jay Walder has the experience and credibility that the MTA will require to survive these challenging fiscal times,” said Robert D. Yaro, president, Regional Plan Association and co-chair of ESTA. “He’ll need all of his many skills to navigate the roiled political waters in Albany.”
Walder will be aided in his efforts to rebuild the MTA’s image by a team of seasoned and highly regarded managers at the agency’s operating divisions. Over the past few years they have improved service levels on the agency’s subway, bus and commuter rail networks.
Later this month the MTA will make public its long-term capital plan, which will provide the backdrop for a new 5-year capital plan, to be released this fall. The plan will underscore the need to secure at least $20 billion in new financing for the agency’s capital needs for the 2010-2014 period, at a time when the state is facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis. Jay Walder will be the point person in efforts to secure these funds, but he’ll need the united support of the region’s civic, business and political leaders to achieve this goal.
“We look forward to working with Jay Walder, the Governor and the legislature this coming fall to identify outstanding repair and building projects and secure remaining funding needed to keep the nation’s largest transit system safe and reliable,” said Kevin S. Corbett, co-chair, ESTA.
“We welcome Jay Walder’s return to New York and the MTA,” said Denise Richardson, Managing Director of the General Contractors Association of New York. “His work restoring the London system to sound financial footing and a state of good repair will be put to good use as we move forward with the MTA’s next capital plan.”
“We are encouraged by Jay Walder’s track record that suggests an openness to the kinds of innovations New York City needs to bring the transit system into the 21st century,” said Andy Darrell, New York regional director, Environmental Defense Fund.
“We welcome Mr. Walder’s nomination as the new Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and urge the State Senate to consider it promptly,” said William Henderson, executive director, Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. “It is critical for the MTA to have permanent capable leadership in place to deal with the challenges that face this region. Decisions on capital projects and funding that will be made this fall will have long lasting impacts on the system, and these decisions will require a strong and effective MTA Chairman. We look forward to working with the new Chairman, the Governor, and the Legislature to strengthen the MTA system for the future.”
“Jay Walder brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and credibility to the MTA,” said Rich Kassel, Senior Attorney and Urban Transportation Expert, National Resources Defense Council. “The MTA’s ability to meet the region’s public transportation needs into the future plays a key role in New York’s contribution to the fight against global warming. We look forward to working with Chairman Walder to address the MTA’s fiscal challenges, and to ensure reliable and affordable public transportation for the entire New York region.”
Members of the Empire State Transportation Alliance include: Regional Plan Association, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, General Contractors Association of New York, Environmental Defense Fund, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, New York State Laborers’, ACEC New York, Citizens Union, Campaign for New York’s Future, Construction Industry Council of New York, Long Island Contractor’s Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York State Building and Construction Trades Council, New York League of Conservation Voters, Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to MTA, Transportation Alternatives, Environmental Advocates of New York.