One day after the much-ballyhooed opening of the $4.5 billion, three-stop "Phase One" of the Second Avenue Subway, Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed his hand-picked head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority would resign in a matter of weeks.
The chairman announced on Monday he is retiring from public service in a joint statement with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Prendergast is a well regarded transit veteran who has spent most of his four-decade career at the MTA.
Prendergast, 64, also emphasized the governor's very active role in the new subway line and other MTA projects.
Already a list of names of potential replacements has surfaced, including Pat Foye, who is Gov. Cuomo's hand-picked executive director to the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey. The governor said Prendergast was stepping down for family reasons and did not announce a specific date for his departure.
The MTA operates subways, buses, commuter rails, bridges and tunnels.
"Maybe I was a little bit of a doubting Thomas for a while, but then I started to see that that change (in the testing schedule) got made, and then that's where we started to change our language in terms of saying 'cautiously optimistic, '" Prendergast told reporters in mid-December. "But we'll be looking for the operator of a transit system, who is also a developer, because a lot of what the MTA does is also build", Cuomo said. Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury) both praised Prendergast's "blunt, direct and straightforward" style.
Martins, a member of the Senate transportation committee, opposed Prendergast's drive to add a third track on the LIRR from Floral Park to Hicksville but lauded his stewardship of the MTA.
"I don't think you can fill his shoes". He began his transit career with the Chicago Transit Authority in 1975 and later moved on to the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.
After leaving the MTA in 2000 and holding various private- and public-sector transit jobs, Prendergast returned to the MTA in 2009 to lead New York City Transit.