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Joseph Lhota will return to lead the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) as chairman, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.Lhota served as MTA chairman in 2012 until he stepped down to run for New York City mayor, but lost to Bill de Blasio in 2013. During Lhota's first MTA tenure, he was known for his leadership in getting the subways up and running after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the system in October 2012.Most recently, Lhota has been serving as a senior vice president at NYU Langone Medical Center, where he will continue to serve while also chairing MTA.Lhota will delegate duties to a permanent chief executive officer. MTA has been searching for a new CEO since Thomas Prendergast's retirement earlier this year.Before his earlier stint with MTA, Lhota was New York City's deputy mayor for operations, where he oversaw day-to-day management of the city and supervised city agencies. He previously served as commissioner of finance for New York City. He steps back into MTA's issues at a challenging time, when the agency's subway system is facing constant delays, deteriorating infrastructure and angry riders."Joe Lhota is a tested and experienced leader with the proven track record needed to address the enormous challenges facing the nation's largest mass transportation system," Cuomo said in a press release. "In the wake of the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, Joe stepped up and delivered for New Yorkers — ensuring our region's subways, buses and commuter rails were up and running as quickly as possible."Much work remains to address the agency's problems, Cuomo added, noting that the current level of service is "completely unacceptable."Lhota had to be convinced to return to MTA, he told The New York Times."I wouldn't call it arm-twisting," he said. "I had to do some soul searching."
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