Prendergast Confirmed as MTA Chairman

Thomas Prendergast, MTA Chairman
MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has a new leader at the helm, following the confirmation Thursday by the New York State Senate of Thomas F. Prendergast to serve as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Prendergast served for more than three years as president of MTA New York City Transit, which runs the subway and bus system in New York City, and for six years as the President of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). He has served as the MTA Interim Executive Director since January 1, 2013. He replaces Joseph Lhota.  

“Tom Prendergast has a proven track record of leadership and transportation expertise, especially when it comes to the managing the vast transportation network of the MTA,” Governor Cuomo said. “As Interim Executive Director, Tom was vital to the recovery of the MTA after Superstorm Sandy and he will continue to play a crucial role in making the MTA more modern, efficient and storm ready. I look forward to Tom’s continued success in running the nation’s largest transportation system.”

“I am grateful that Governor Cuomo has entrusted me with the responsibility of leading the largest transportation agency in North America,” Prendergast said. “The MTA faces enormous challenges to continue improving service while cutting costs and rebuilding stronger after Superstorm Sandy. Leading the MTA through these challenges is critical to the lives of millions of New Yorkers and the future of the New York economy. Governor Cuomo has repeatedly demonstrated his strong support for the MTA, and I deeply appreciate this opportunity.”

In 2011, the Governor’s MTA Search Advisory Committee conducted a national search to find and recommend the most talented candidates to lead the MTA. Mr. Prendergast was highly recommended by the Committee, and Committee members were consulted in his nomination. The advisory committee was composed of leading public transportation experts and management professionals in the public and private sectors.

“The MTA couldn't be in better hands. Tom Prendergast is the consummate transportation professional, and New Yorkers should be happy that Governor Cuomo has put him in charge of the engine of New York's growth,” said MTA Vice-Chairman Fernando Ferrer. “I have been deeply impressed with his knowledge, his skill and his leadership in my time working alongside him at the MTA, and I am confident he will do an outstanding job confronting the many challenges facing the MTA.”

Mr. Prendergast is a career public transit officer and former MTA executive who was appointed President of MTA New York City Transit in November 2009. Prendergast, then the CEO at TransLink in Vancouver, B.C., returned to New York and took office December 1, 2009.

A native of Chicago, with a systems engineering degree from the University of Illinois, Mr. Prendergast began his career at the Chicago Transit Authority in 1975. From there, he joined the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, DC, then moved to the New York City Transit Authority in 1982 as Assistant Director of System Safety. In 1984, he was named Chief of the TA’s System Safety Department. In 1987 he became Staten Island General Manager, and in 1989, the agency’s Chief Electrical Officer. Then in 1991, he was named Senior Vice President of the Department of Subways.

In 1994, Prendergast left Subways’ SVP office at Jay Street in Brooklyn to become President of the Long Island Rail Road. In 2000, he left the public sector to work as a consultant in transportation. Over the next eight years, he worked on numerous project and program management assignments in the UK, North America and Asia. He returned to the public sector in 2008 with his move to TransLink, Vancouver’s public transportation system.