2011-01-28 / Top Stories

Walder To Keep MTA Leadership Slot

By Howard Schwach

A former Rockaway resident whose father was once the managing editor of The Wave will keep his job as MTA president in the new Cuomo administration, sources said on Monday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has decided to keep the heads of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in their jobs, according to a source close to the governor.

Jay Walder, whose father, Bernie, was the longtime editor of The Wave, will be retained as MTA chairman and chief executive and Christopher Ward as executive director of the Port Authority, the source said. Both men have been informed that they will be staying on.

In Walder’s case, sources say, the decision was expected:

He is widely regarded as one of the top public transportation experts in the world, and the governor credits Walder with finding efficiencies worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Walder was nominated for the post by Cuomo’s predecessor, David Paterson, in July 2009, and confirmed two months later by the state Senate.

Walder also has a buyout clause in his contract worth several hundred thousand dollars, although that had nothing to do with the governor’s decision, the source said.

Many in Rockaway would rather see Walder go, however, citing his support for ending the resident toll rebate on the Cross Bay Bridge, replacing it instead with a plan that forces locals to pay for their first two trips across the bridge each day; a plan that still angers Rockaway and Broad Channel residents.

Under Walder, services were cut and fares rose, locals say.

The decision to keep Walder is likely to draw objections from the Transport Workers Union, which has attempted to demonize Walder in the past for his cuts to overtime and his layoffs of union workers.

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