NEW YORK (WABC) -- Richard Ravitch, a former lieutenant governor, MTA chair, and longtime private citizen working in the public good who always seemed to be rescuing New York City from the brink, has died. He was 89.
Ravitch served as MTA chairman in the 1980s, helping save the city's mass transit system just as he had helped save the City from financial collapse in the 1970s.
He similarly came to the aid of Gov. David Paterson in 2009, recruited to serve as his lieutenant governor when Paterson took over for Eliot Spitzer.
Ravitch never was elected to anything. But as a businessman, he spent decades rallying public support as a tireless cheerleader for the city and state.
"In many ways, he is one of the fathers of the mass transit system we have today," current MTA Chair and CEO Janno Leiber said.
"Dick Ravitch was a titan of New York's civic world who left an indelible mark on our State, and he will be greatly missed," Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. "He was a steady, savvy, and brilliant leader and a public servant in the truest sense of the term."
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg released a statement saying the City "owes a great debt of gratitude to Richard Ravitch."
"His life is a testament to the potential that private sector leaders have to make major contributions to their communities without ever running for office," Bloomberg said.
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