Following the controversial departure of Andy Byford as MTA New York City Transit on Feb. 21, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority has appointed former Federal Railroad Administrator and MTA board member and Transit Committee Chair Sarah E. Feinberg as his interim replacement. Feinberg will oversee NYCT subway, bus and paratransit services and the Staten Island Railway, operated by a 48,000-person workforce.
Feinberg, MTA said, “brings a wealth of experience to the position, having previously served in a number of high-ranking leadership posts under President Obama.” She was the second woman in history to lead the FRA, after Jolene Molitoris. Feinberg also previously served as Chief of Staff at the U.S. DOT and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. She has also spent time in the private sector, at Facebook and Bloomberg, LP. Feinberg previously served on the Amtrak Board of Directors, and currently serves on the StoryCorps Board of Directors and the NHP Foundation Board of Directors. A native of Charleston, W.Va., she resides in New York City with her family.
Feinberg joins NYCT Senior Vice President for Subways Sally Librera as one of two women in leadership roles at the agency.
At a press conference at Fulton Transit Center, MTA Chair Patrick Foye stressed that Feinberg was his choice rather than that of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose well-known control of MTA affairs and outsized ego, observers say, resulted in Byford’s departure as well as that of globally reknowned signaling and train control expert Pete Tomlin.
Feinberg noted that her role as a mother with young children guided her decision to accept the Interim President role. “To our millions of riders, I hear you, I see you and I’m one of you,” she said. “Jobs like this don’t always make sense for people with small children, which is where I am in my own life. So this is the right thing to do on an interim basis… But I want to continue doing everything I can to help the system.”
“As an MTA board member, Sarah has been outspoken in support of our eight million daily customers, and I know she will bring that same passion as she leads the agency as Interim President,” said MTA Chief Operating Officer Mario Peloquin. “She is eminently qualified to push New York City Transit to new heights and will advance its commitment to improve customers’ commutes and get our riders where they need to go faster and safer.”
“I’m thrilled to be serving as president of New York City Transit,” said Feinberg. “As a transportation professional, there’s no greater impact on public service than working with the people responsible for the safe and efficient transportation of eight million New Yorkers every day. I could not be happier and more proud to join this incredible team and look forward to jumping into the work right away.” Feinberg’s first day as NYCT Interim President will be March 9. The MTA will conduct a search for a permanent replacement.