After Byford’s Exit, Lawmakers Suggest City Takes Control Of MTA

Steve Burns
January 24, 2020 - 2:55 pm
New York City Subway

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Andy Byford’s abrupt exit from the Metropolitan Transit Authority on Thursday has led to renewed calls for a change in the agency’s governing structure.

Brooklyn Assemblyman Robert Carrol said there was just one thing going through his mind when he learned that Byford would be stepping down from his post as New York City’s Transit president: “Catastrophe.”

He said Byford’s exit should be a wakeup call that things need to change at the MTA.

“He ended up not having the job he thought he was gonna have, and that is classic mismanagement,” Carrol said.

Byford was hired in 2018 to lead the modernization of the New York City subway system. His appointment came amid the 2017 transit crisis, after a New York Times investigation found decades of mismanagement and under-investment by the MTA.

After two years on the job and rumors that Byford continuously butt heads with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the former CEO of the Toronto Transit Commission left his post in New York.

Carrol believes the MTA is purposefully set up so that the average person has no idea who's in charge. He thinks it's time to untangle all of it.

“The simplest way to do that is to give the city back control. Make it very clear, it's mayoral control of the busses and subways,” Carroll suggested.

He’s filing a bill in the state Assembly to give control of the buses and subways back to New York City.

City Council Speaker, and likely mayoral candidate, Corey Johnson is also floating the idea.

However, Mayor Bill de Blasio isn’t on board with the idea as he doesn’t trust the state to keep money flowing to a city-led transit agency.

“We have seen, often recently, the state pulling back funding in a variety of ways from the city,” he said.

The mayor also isn't ready to say his final goodbye to Byford.

“We should not be talking to him in the past tense. I think we should get him back,” de Blasio said.

The last time Byford resigned, he backtracked and agreed to stay on with the agency for a number of months. It doesn’t appear to be the case this time.