MTA Chairman Jay Walder resigns

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Metropolitian Transportation Authority Chairman Jay Walder announced he will be trading the management of one rail system for another when his term ends this October.

Walder submitted his resignation from the board to Gov. Andrew Cuomo Thursday after serving nearly two years in the position. He will be the chief executive officer and a board member of MTR Corporation in Hong Kong, which operates rail services in cities such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, London and Melbourne.

Walder, a Rockaway native, thanked his staff and the governor for their cooperation during his tenure that began in October 2009.

“The MTA’s transportation system is the foundation of the metropolitan region and we are fortunate to have thousands of dedicated men and women who work so hard to provide these critically important transportation services to millions of people each and every day,” he said in an e-mailed statement.

“I believe that we have accomplished quite a lot in a short period, with the support of two governors, the mayor, a hardworking board and many others.”

The MTA has had to deal with several financial problems over the last couple of years. Fares were raised in December and two subways, including the V train, and many bus routes were axed due to budget cuts.

Walder’s resignation followed a report from the MTA Wednesday that the agency was poised to cut another $2 billion from its five-year capital plan.

In his statement, Walder, however, focused on the small improvements he has brought to the city’s mass transit system such as an updated MTA website and new technologies that were implemented in subway stations, such as train countdown clocks.

“In challenging times, we brought stability and credibility to the MTA by making every dollar count, by delivering long overdue improvements and by refusing to settle for business as usual,” he said.

Walder’s term will end on Oct. 21, and he will officially assume his position with MTR in January, according to the MTA.

“This is an exciting opportunity for me to lead a publicly traded, multinational corporation with a broad set of business activities,” he said. “The MTR Corp. is widely recognized for its world-leading rail systems and the innovative property developments that are built around stations.”

 Walder was appointed by Gov. David Paterson in the late summer of 2009 and took office in October of that year. Walder served as head of London Transit from 2001 to 2007 during which time he brought about a plan of Mayor Ken Livingston to charge motorists as much as $16 per day to drive into London’s central business district.

 He was also instrumental in improving London’s bus service.

 Walder succeeded Elliot Sander as MTA chairman. Sander resigned after Paterson announced in the spring of 2008 that “we are going to clean up and clean out” the MTA.

Philip Newman contributed to this story.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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