Patrick Foye, the outgoing Port Authority executive director and a Port Washington resident, will become the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s president, MTA chairman Joe Lhota announced on Thursday.
Foye, a Sands Point resident, has headed the Port Authority since November 2011.
During his tenure, Foye led public-private partnerships to help secure funding for the Goethals Bridge and construction of a new terminal at LaGuardia Airport.
He was also there during the Fort Lee lane closure scandal in 2013, when political appointees of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie closed lanes on the George Washington Bridge as political retaliation.
Foye testified during the trials and ordered the lanes reopen, calling the closures a “hasty and ill-advised decision,” but also signed off on a public statement that falsely said the Fort Lee gridlock was the result of a traffic study.
He also served as Deputy Secretary for Economic Development for Gov. Cuomo and as an MTA board member from 2010 to 2012.
Meanwhile Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim, who been serving as the interim executive director since January 2017, will retain a leadership role as the MTA’s managing director, Lhota said.
She also worked as president of MTA New York City Transit, executive director of NJ Transit and executive director of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
Together, Hakim and Foye will work with MTA chief development office Janno Lieber in the newly formed Office of the Chairman, which hopes to modernize the transit system and implement Lhota’s $836 million subway rescue plan, Lhota said.
This plan includes adding 2,700 more workers, replacing old signals, removing subway seats, increasing train cars and creating a public dashboard to keep travelers updated on system performance, according to MTA officials.
Foye will be in charge of “innovation and modernization” projects and Hakim plans to manage day-to-day subway operations, the MTA said.
“Pat and Ronnie are veteran transportation professionals who together with Janno form the dynamic team the MTA needs at this moment,” Lhota said in a statement. “The plan I recently introduced is ambitious, aggressive, and requires dedicated leadership ensuring operational excellence and long-term innovation.”
Foye’s appointment comes amidst ongoing track repairs at Penn Station, operated by Amtrak, which led the MTA to adopt a $58 mitigation plan to try helping nearly 10,000 LIRR riders deal with schedule shuffles.
The repairs emerged as a sort of recognition of long-term neglect and under-investment in Penn, the nation’s busiest travel hub. The announcement to repair Penn came after a wave of woes, including signal problems, delays and train derailments.
Foye first announced he would leave the Port Authority back in 2015, but opted to stay on longer as the agency struggled to find a replacement.
Effective Aug. 14 Rick Cotton, a former top executive at NBC Universal who served as Governor Cuomo’s special counsel for interagency initiatives, will succeed Foye as executive director.