It may be the toughest job listing in state government: lead an underfinanced, underappreciated mass transit system that is a regular punching bag for politicians, an emblem of bureaucratic inertia, and, incidentally, crucial to the lives of the millions who depend on it each day.
Interested in being the next chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority? Send those résumés to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Albany, N.Y.
The governor unveiled a blue-ribbon committee on Monday that will help him locate a replacement for Jay H. Walder, the technocrat consultant who abruptly resigned his post last month. Mr. Walder accepted a job in Hong Kong that he described as “compelling,” although friends and colleagues said he had also become frustrated with the financial and political obstacles he faced in New York.
While some transit advocates fear that Mr. Cuomo will choose a relatively inexperienced political supporter to lead the agency, the governor’s committee includes some of the most lauded minds in the region’s transportation and public financing circles.
The boldest of the boldface names is Richard Ravitch, the former lieutenant governor whose reputation as a civic miracle worker was forged at the authority in the 1980s, where he was credited with rebuilding a subway and rail system that had nearly disintegrated.
The transit-riding public is represented by Gene Russianoff, head of the venerable Straphangers’ Campaign. Mitchell L. Moss, the civic gadfly and director of Rudin Center for Transportation Policy at N.Y.U., is also on the list, along with Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association and a longtime advocate for progressive transportation planning.
Strangely, the shortest biography in the official press release belongs to the person who may have the most influence with the governor: Mary Ann Crotty, a close aide to former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo who handled Albany’s transportation policy in the 1980s and 1990s. Ms. Crotty, who now runs a private transportation consultancy, is considered a leading expert in state transit circles.
More first-hand experience comes from Mortimer L. Downey, a former executive director of the authority, and Robert K. Steel, a deputy mayor in the Bloomberg administration and a former banker at Goldman Sachs.
The committee also includes Fernando Ferrer, a former mayoral candidate and Mr. Cuomo’s first appointment to the board of the authority; Bill Rudin, the real estate baron; and Howard Glaser, Mr. Cuomo’s director of state operations.