MTA Chairman and CEO Joe Lhota will resign this Friday and announce his candidacy for New York City mayor, transit sources tell NBC 4 New York.
The MTA declined to comment Tuesday. Several messages were left with Lhota, who could not immediately be reached for comment.
Lhota, widely praised for getting subways and buses back on track so quickly after Sandy caused unprecedented damage to the transit system, had talked about a possible run for mayor of New York City, former mayor Rudy Giuliani told the Daily News earlier this month.
Lhota, a registered Republican, served as Giuliani's budget director, finance commissioner and deputy mayor for operations. Giuliani was mayor from 1994 to 2001.
Giuliani said at the time it wasn't clear if Lhota wanted to resign from his MTA job in order to run.
"He's trying to figure it out. He loves his job," Giuliani told the News.
Lhota is still expected to vote Wednesday for the proposed MTA fare hikes, which call for a single ride to be raised from $2.25 to $2.50 and for a monthly MetroCard to be raised from $104 to $112.
In a statement Tuesday, a spokesman for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, one of the expected Democratic candidates for mayor, said, "Voters aren't going to forget that MTA Chair Lhota saddled New Yorkers with a bus and fare hike right before running for mayor."
Giuliani has previously said that he believes Lhota would make an excellent mayor. His adviser told the Wall Street Journal last month that Giuliani will do everything he can to help elect Lhota if the chairman decides to enter the race.
“I’d like to see him run for the city and for the Republican Party, but I want him to be aware of the fact that it’s a very tough road,” Giuliani told the News.
Without identifying potential candidates, Giuliani also noted the stiff Democratic competition Lhota could face. Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former mayoral contender and city Controller Bill Thompson are among the likely contenders for the Democratic nomination.
Former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion could challenge Lhota for the Republican nomination, but he's not a registered party member and would need the support of three of the five GOP county chairs in the city to add his name to a primary ticket.