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Feinberg tapped as 1st woman to chair NYC transit authority

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NEW YORK (AP) — Sarah Feinberg has been nominated to chair New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and if confirmed, would become the first woman to head North America’s largest public transit system.

Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Feinberg’s nomination Tuesday. Since last year, Feinberg has served since as interim head of New York City Transit, which operates the city’s bus and subway systems.

She would replace Patrick Foye, the MTA’s current chair and CEO. Foye on Tuesday was named interim president and CEO of Empire State Development, the state’s economic development arm. Janno Lieber, head of the MTA’s construction and development, was appointed the MTA’s CEO.

“There should be no higher priority than ensuring we are doing all we can to bring ridership back — and as ridership comes back, so will the city’s economic recovery,” Feinberg said in a statement.

All three led the MTA through existential challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, which caused ridership to plummet more than 90% at its peak. They helped secure more than $14 billion in federal aid for the MTA as it sought to plug huge budget holes brought on by decreased activity on subways and buses and at bridges and tunnels.

The authority spent hundreds of millions of dollars on cleaning and disinfecting subway cars and stations, and took the rare step of closing down the subway system overnight to accommodate the additional cleaning.

Recently, Feinberg has clashed with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office and the NYPD over additional police staffing in the subways as assaults have spiked.

Prior to leading NYC Transit, Feinberg led the Federal Railroad Administration, which regulates U.S. railroads.

Lieber oversaw the approval of the MTA’s $51.5 billion capital program and has been involved in numerous large-scale projects including the L Train tunnel rehabilitation, the second phase of the Second Avenue subway line and the connection of the Metro-North suburban rail line to Penn Station. Prior to joining the MTA he managed multibillion-dollar development projects at the World Trade Center on behalf of Silverstein Properties.

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