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Update: This afternoon, Joe Lhota, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, officially announced he will resign as MTA chairman on December 31 to consider a run for mayor, the New York Post reports.He said the decision is “bittersweet,” and that “It’s been a privilege to serve this governor.”
Earlier: Joe Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is planning to resign and run for mayor of New York City, the New York Times reported.
According to the Times, Lhota told Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration he will step down on Friday, so he can legally be a candidate under City law.
CBS New York also reported that Lhota will resign in order to run for the office.
Lhota, who was deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani and a former executive vice president for the Madison Square Garden Company, took over leadership of the MTA in fall of 2011.
He was widely praised for getting New York’s subway system running again just a few days after Hurricane Sandy flooded much of the city, a feat that made him one of Business Insider’s 20 Most Impressive People Of The Year.
If Lhota does resign to make a bid for mayor, both the MTA and he will face uphill battles. The damage to the city’s mass transit system caused by the hurricane will cost an estimated $5 billion to repair, and a change in leadership could hamper an already difficult and complicated recovery process.
Lhota would run as a Republican in a highly Democratic city. A November 21 poll by Quinnipiac University found Lhota would lose to an unnamed Democratic candidate, 60 to 9 per cent.
He does have Giuliani’s support. Earlier this month, the former mayor told the Daily News, “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.”