In the October 2021 issue of Railway Age, we reported on Kathy Hochul, New York’s new governor, and some new directions that she might take concerning transit in the Empire State, especially in and near New York City. This is the territory of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), but the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is a big player there, too. Hochul took office last August on two weeks’ notice, when Andrew Cuomo was forced out, due to a number of scandals. Cuomo had taken a hands-on approach to managing transit, but Hochul has not always supported her predecessor’s pet projects. The proposed LaGuardia AirTrain is a case in point.
For almost half a century, passenger rail service in the United States has resided in the public sector. Despite its unusual statutory charter, Amtrak’s voting shares belong to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Every transit agency that runs trains in its metropolitan area is owned by some sort of public entity, whether based in state or local government, or a separate public-sector authority. Times are changing, though, and certain private-sector entities have expressed interest in running passenger railroads.