Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joseph Lhota said Wednesday that he is resigning his post to explore running for mayor, a move that comes after he was hailed for getting the nation's biggest mass transit system back on track after Sandy.
Lhota said Wednesday that it was "bittersweet" to give up the MTA post he's held for a little more than a year, and he would have liked to leave it on better financial footing. His resignation came after the board voted to raise subway, bus and commuter rail fares, starting in March.
Lhota has found himself in a spotlight since the Oct. 29 storm, which caused unprecedented flooding of the 108-year-old subway system and brought a quick response from the MTA. Some buses began running the next day, and some subway service resumed within three days.
After that, political chatter started about Lhota's mayoral prospects.
A former deputy mayor and city budget director under Giuliani, Lhota also has been an executive with Cablevision and the company that runs Madison Square Garden.
A Giuliani adviser has said the former mayor would endorse Lhota if he decided to run.
City law prohibits Lhota from running for mayor while serving as MTA chairman. Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, who became vice chairman on Wednesday, will take over as acting chairman Jan. 1.
Bloomberg, a Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent, will finish his third term at the end of next year.
Several Democratic veterans of city politics are expected to run, including Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former Comptroller Bill Thompson.
Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, who recently left the Democratic Party to become unaffiliated, might seek to run as an independent on the Republican Party line. Local newspaper publisher Tom Allon, a Democrat-turned-Republican, has announced he's running.