Tag Archives: Joe Lhota

Ex-MTA chief Lhota closer to mayoral run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA/Flickr

Former MTA Chairman and CEO Joe Lhota is on the fast track to a mayoral bid.

According to media reports, at a New York Building Congress luncheon Monday, Lhota said that he intends to file papers to run for mayor this week.

“I would not have left the MTA, a job and position that I loved, if I was not going to run for mayor of New York,” he said yesterday.

Lhota stepped down from his position heading the city’s transit agency last month in order to explore running in the 2013 race.

When he announced his resignation on December 19, Lhota said that he would make his decision on running for New York City mayor in early January.

A former deputy mayor for operations during the Rudy Giulianni administration, Lhota is expected to run as a Republican and get the endorsement of his ex-boss.

 

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MTA head Joe Lhota resigns to explore mayoral run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA/Flickr

Following the MTA board’s approval of his fare hike proposal, CEO and Chairman Joe Lhota announced that he will resign, effective December 31, to consider running for New York City mayor in 2013.

At the announcement, Lhota said that he would make “no further comment” on his mayoral candidacy until early January, when he will announce his decision.

The approved fare and toll changes, which raise the MetroCard base and unlimited fares, reduce the discount, as well as increases ticket prices on the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North, and raise tolls on MTA bridges and tunnels, are Lhota’s last hoorah as the agency’s head, and could conceivably hurt his chances among voters.

Post-Sandy polls showed that the majority of New Yorkers were pleased with how the MTA responded to the superstorm and its aftermath, but voters are fed up with the frequent fare hikes.

His party could also be an obstacle.

After two decades, the city will likely have a Democratic mayor again.

A November Quinnipiac University poll found that if Lhota ran for mayor as a Republican he would lose to an unnamed Democratic candidate 60 to nine percent. Forty-five percent of those surveyed also disapproved of how Lhota is handling his job as the head of the MTA.

Current mayor Michael Bloomberg, who ran for his first two terms as a Republican before switching to an Independent before his third run, is expected to endorse City Council Speaker and Democrat Christine Quinn, and reportedly even asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run.

Another former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, however, is expected to endorse Lhota, who served as his deputy mayor for operations. Giuliani also reportedly encouraged him to run.

The MTA chair also worked in investment banking, was an executive vice president for the Madison Square Garden Company, and served as the city’s budget director and commissioner of finance, before Governor

Andrew Cuomo appointed him as head of the transit agency in November 2011.

Before facing a Democrat, Lhota needs to win the Republican primary, where he could run against newspaper publisher Tom Allon, billionaire grocer John Catsimatidis, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, former Bronx borough president Adolfo Carrión Jr. and Doe Fund founder and president George McDonald.

The same November Quinnipiac poll also found that Lhota would lose to Carrión 62 to 11 percent.

 

Fare, toll hikes approved by MTA


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

New Yorkers will once again be paying more to ride public transportation beginning next year.

The MTA board passed all of Chair Joe Lhota’s recommendations at their monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 19 bumping fares and tolls across all MTA services.

The base fare on Metrocards will rise a quarter to $2.50, seven-day passes will go up $1 to $30 and 30-day passes will increase $8 to $112.  The new fares go into effect March 1 and is the fourth increase in five years.

The new fares also include a $1 green fee for each new Metrocard bought from the machine.

Long Island Railroad and Metro-North tickets will also increase an average of nine percent.

On bridges, E-ZPass drivers will be paying 50 cents more per trip, while those who pay cash will be forking over an additional dollar every time they use an MTA crossing.

Charts courtesy of MTA

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Clear. High of 48. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 15 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 36. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph

EVENT of the DAY: Queens Young Professionals Holiday Party

Recently, the Queens Young Professionals group formed to provide resources and networking opportunities to cultivate the borough’s future business leaders and encourage the next generation to become invested in borough wide issues. QYP, which is free to join, hosts its first ever holiday party with an unlimited buffet and specially priced drinks plus the chance to network. $10. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

M.T.A. chief will resign as he looks at mayoral bid

Joseph J. Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has informed the Cuomo administration that he is stepping down from his position, according to four people with direct knowledge of his plans. Read more: New York Times

MTA to vote on fare, toll hike proposal Wednesday

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is scheduled to vote on its latest fare and toll hike proposal Wednesday morning. Read more: NY1

Little-known program can help flood-prone homeowners stave off future damage

Broad Channel homeowner Joan Delahunt, still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Irene, was working on a plan to raise the level of her flood-prone home when Superstorm Sandy struck. Read more: New York Daily News

NRA breaks silence, comments on Newtown tragedy

After four days of self-imposed silence on the shooting that killed 26 people inside a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, the nation’s largest gun rights lobby emerged Tuesday and promised “to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” ABC New York

Obama to call for gun policy changes

President Barack Obama is launching an administration-wide effort to curb gun violence, underscoring the growing political consensus over tightening gun restrictions following the horrific massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. Read more: Fox New York

Instagram takes step back, says ‘It is not our intention to sell your photos

Instagram, the popular mobile photo-sharing service now owned by Facebook, has backpedaled on some of its planned changes that led to concerns that it would use its members’ photos in advertisements. Read more: CBS New York

Time 2012 Person of the Year: Barack Obama

Twenty-seven years after driving from New York City to Chicago in a $2,000 Honda Civic for a job that probably wouldn’t amount to much, Barack Obama, in better shape but with grayer hair, stood in the presidential suite on the top floor of the Fairmont Millennium Park hotel as flat screens announced his re-election as President of the United States. Read more: Time magazine

 

 

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: A chance of light rain after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 48. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Friday night: Rain likely, mainly after 9pm. Patchy fog after midnight. Otherwise, cloudy, with a low around 45. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

EVENT of the DAY: Free First Fridays

The Noguchi Museum is pleased to announce the continuation of our First Friday Film Series through the winter months. Visitors can enjoy extended evening hours from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with free admission, cash bar and special programming.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Relatives and friends remember subway-push victim at Queens funeral

Relatives and friends are saying a final good-bye to a New York City man who was shoved onto subway tracks as a train rolled into a station. A handful of mourners gathered Thursday for the funeral service for 58-year-old Ki-Suck Han at the Edward D. Jamie Funeral Chapel in Flushing, Queens. Read more: NY Post

George Zimmerman sues NBC, claiming the station edited his 911 phone call to make him sound racist

George Zimmerman sued NBC on Thursday, claiming he was defamed when the network edited his 911 call to police after the shooting of Trayvon Martin to make it sound like he was racist. The former neighborhood watch volunteer filed the lawsuit seeking an undisclosed amount of money in Seminole County, outside Orlando. Read more: Daily News

Accused subway ‘killer’: I blame victim

Accused killer Naeem Davis, with a chilling, dead-eye stare yesterday, was hit with murder charges for tossing a Queens dad into the path of a subway train in Midtown, authorities said. Davis, 30, allegedly confessed to the grisly crime — but coldly blamed his victim, Ki Suk Han, 58. Read more: NY Post

Two armed thugs tie up, rob Queens Realtor of $75,000 in cash

Two bandits burst into a Queens real-estate office Thursday and tied up the owner before swiping $75,000 in cash from a desk drawer, police sources said. The 59-year-old owner of Pistilli Realty on 30th Ave. in Astoria was in his third-floor office when he heard a commotion about 8:30 a.m., the sources said. Read more: Daily News

Point Breeze Fire Department receives outpour of support after heroic rescue during Sandy

The Point Breeze Volunteer Fire House is a hub of relief activity as the community tries to recover after Hurricane Sandy. During the storm, flood waters swallowed streets and fires engulfed homes across Breezy Point. Read more: NY1

MTA boss Joseph Lhota: Sandy subway woes still affecting 500,000 commuters

Subway service is still screwed up for approximately 500,000 riders because of the damage Hurricane Sandy brought down on the system, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota said Thursday. Some riders are enduring longer and more crowded trips because their stations or line segments are still out of commission while others have longer waits because their regular trains are coming less frequently, Lhota said. Read more: Daily News

Mac Computers to be Made in the USA

One of the Mac line of computers will be manufactured in the USA next year, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in an interview with Brian Williams on NBC’s Rock Center. Read more: Forbes

Queens residents sound off on MTA fare hikes


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Chris Coury pleaded with officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), telling them that paying to get to and from is making a “big dent” in his wallet.

“Please, be reasonable,” urged Coury, a recent college graduate, to a panel of MTA board members at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel.

The MTA has been touring the city, stopping in each borough to allow residents to sound off on the proposed fare hikes.

In October, the transit authority unveiled four proposals for fare hikes, one of which will be put into place March of next year. Under the first proposal, the MetroCard base fare would rise from $2.25 to $2.50, leaving the seven percent bonus discount unchanged, but increasing a 30-day unlimited pass to $112, and a seven-day to $30. In another, the base fare would remain unchanged; the bonus discount would be reduced to five percent, increasing the 30-day pass to $125, and the seven-day to $34. Another option is to eliminate the bonus discount, increasing the 30-day pass to $119 and the seven-day to $32. The proposals would also increase bus fares and bridge and tunnel tolls.

According to the MTA’s website, the fare hikes would “raise additional, vitally needed revenue to support the New York region’s transportation system,” since these proposals come “during an era of successful and unprecedented MTA management actions to cut controllable expenses.”

Joseph Lhota, MTA Chair and CEO; Stephen Morello, Counselor to the Chair; Helena Williams, Long Island Railroad (LIRR) President; Thomas Pendergast, New York City transit President; and several other MTA board members were in attendance at the Thursday, November 15 public hearing.

Coury, who recently graduated from Berkeley College in Midtown, now lives in Flushing and works part-time to pay off his student loans. He said that the proposed hikes will only take a bigger bite out of his budget.

Roughly 20 residents and Assemblymember Ed Braunstein spoke out against the fare increases, many calling them “unfair,” “ridiculous” and “outrageous.”

Jason Chin-Fatt of the NYC Straphangers Campaign spoke out on behalf of a number of rider testimonies submitted to their organization, and compared choosing one of the four MTA proposals to “picking your poison.”

Several students from Queens College attended the hearing, claiming that because they are largely a commuter school, many of them would suffer.

“An increased fare could be the roadblock between a students and their degree,” said student Jaqi Cohen.

The MTA panel listened to each speaker, and will take each testimony into account when making their final vote. There will be two more public hearings the week of November 26, one in Staten Island and another on Long Island. After the last hearing, the board will vote on passing one of the four proposals.

For more information on the MTA fare hike proposals and to submit rider testimony, straphangers can visit www.mta.info.

No timetable for return of subway; limited bus service to resume at 5 p.m.


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

Extensive flooding in the city’s subway system continues to knock out service with no timetable for trains to be up and running.

“The New York City subway system is 108 years old, but it has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night. Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on our entire transportation system,” said MTA Chair and CEO Joe Lhota.

The storm caused extensive flooding in all under river subway tunnels, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  Some railyards also suffered from flooding.

“That’s going to be a big problem to get them going,” Bloomberg said.

Lhota said the MTA is currently assessing the extent of the damage on the lines.

“Once we complete or assessment we will know more about when the system is up and running,” Lhota said.

If the agency can restore some parts of the system, those lines will resume service when possible, he said.

Buses will be used where train are unable to run.

Buses will resume with limited service today beginning at 5 p.m., said Governor Andrew Cuomo.  By tomorrow, he said he hopes all bus routes will be running.  There will be no fares on buses today and tomorrow.

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Fireworks light up the night as New Yorkers celebrate Independence Day 

Millions of New Yorkers and tourists alike celebrated the nation’s birthday Wednesday night with the 36th annual Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks show. An estimated 40,000 fireworks lit up the sky over the five boroughs, propelled from two barges on the Hudson River in what was billed as the largest display in the country. The event was the culmination of days of preparations. Read more: [NY1] 

Beloved grandmother, a victim of callous hit-and-run in Queens, slowly recovering from horrific wounds

A beloved grandmother who was mowed down and left for dead on a Queens street last month is slowly recovering — but the callous driver is still at large. Bidi Kahn, 65, a widowed mother of six with “a bunch” of grandchildren, has been surrounded by her family at Jamaica Hospital as her face heals from the horrific wounds she endured in the hit-and-run nightmare. She said the support of her family has been keeping her going. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Saving the day just part of the daily rounds for MTA bus driver

Call him the Astounding Busman. The temperature plunged to 13 degrees at 6 a.m. that snowy Feb. 6, 2004, when Glen Moyles pulled his Q12 bus out of Casey Stengel Depot on Roosevelt Ave. in Queens and groaned over the Northern Blvd. overpass above icy Flushing Bay. Up ahead in the swirling white haze Moyles spotted an idling car parked in the right lane. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Queens-bound tour bus crash injures 23; no charges filed 

Police are investigating a tour bus crash in Westchester County that sent nearly two dozen people to the hospital Wednesday. New York State Police say the bus was traveling from Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut to Queens just before 6:30 a.m. when the driver lost control on I-95. Read more: [NY1] 

Queens boy, 4, drowns in relatives’ backyard pool 

A 4-year-old boy drowned in relatives’ backyard pool during a Fourth of July party last night in Queens, authorities said. Firefighters arrived at the Beverly Road home in the Douglas Manor neighborhood just before 6 p.m. to find the unconscious child, identified by police as Christos Voulkoudis, lying next to the pool after he was pulled out by family members. Read more: [New York Post]

MTA cop shoots, kills psycho who stabbed him in the eye in unprovoked attack

An MTA cop who survived two wars as a Navy officer was stabbed in the eye by a police-hating lunatic at an LIRR station — but the bleeding officer managed to shoot his attacker dead before the man could strike again. “He’s a real hero,” MTA chief Joe Lhota said of Officer John Barnett, who has also served with the NYPD. Read more: [New York Post] 

Will new MTA chair steam ahead?


| editorial@queenscourier.com

It will be interesting to see if the new Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chair Joe Lhota will be any more successful than Jay Walder and his predecessors in dealing with the challenges ahead. 

The original proposed $29 billion Five Year Capital Plan was cut to $24 billion, but still faces a $9 billion shortfall.  Proposed plans to borrow another $9 billion will just increase the MTA’s long term debt from $30 to $39 billion. Yearly service payments on the debt will take an even bigger chunk out of the budget, leaving even less money for routine capital improvements, let alone any system expansion.  

Only Uncle Sam, New York State, New York City, California and several other states carry more long-term debt than the MTA.

For decades, under numerous past MTA Five Year Capital Plans, both the city and state collectively cut billions of their own respective financial contributions.  They repeatedly had the MTA refinance or borrow funds to acquire scarce capital funding formerly made up by hard cash from both City Hall and Albany. 

Will Lhota be able to convince his benefactor – Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg – to contribute their fair share?  Time will tell.

 

 

Larry Penner

Great Neck