MTA's Lhota to resign, run for mayor

December 19, 2012 3:28:20 PM PST
MTA chief Joe Lhota will announce on Friday that he is stepping down to run for mayor of New York City as a Republican.

Now, Lhota is hoping voters have short memories after he announces his run for City Hall.

News of his resignation came just hours before a Wednesday morning vote by the MTA board unanimously approved across-the-board fare hikes.

A ticket for a single bus or subway ride will rise by 25 cents to $2.75, while a monthly MetroCard pass would cost nearly 8 percent more, or $112. A weekly unlimited ride card would rise by a dollar, from $29 to $30. Express bus fares would rise by 50 cents to $6.

Also, the bonus awarded to riders when they put cash on a pay-per-ride card will shrink from 7 percent to 5 percent of the amount added.

Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North commuters will see the price of most of their tickets rise between 8 and 9 percent.

As for drivers, they will see tolls rise on all MTA bridges and tunnels.

The increases would bring in an additional $450 million a year for the nation's largest transit system.

Lhota was appointed to the MTA in January. He has been praised for his post-Sandy handling of the system, but one political analyst says Lhota the candidate will face more than a few questions.

"He's going to have to explain to people why he was only at the MTA for only nine months," consultant Hank Sheinkopf said. "He did a good job with Sandy, but he's leaving us with a big increases in subway and bus fares, and, by the way, an unresolved transport workers union contract."

Lhota was a deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, and he is expected to stay with the MTA through the end of the year. On Thursday, he heads to Washington to testify before Congress about the MTA's need for federal disaster relief after Hurricane Sandy.

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