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Perhaps MTA Chairman Joe Lhota is looking for the old “fare-hike bump.”
The MTA voted to accept Lhota’s fare-hike proposal this morning, and Lhota announced his resignation as chairman — generating speculation that he will run for the Republican nomination in the 2013 New York City mayoral race.
No one should accuse the man of lacking style and impeccable timing.
Among the early Christmas gifts unlikely to endear a mayoral candidate to the hearts of New Yorkers is a 25-cent base-fare increase, a $112 monthly unlimited MetroCard, a $1 Verrazano Bridge toll increase and an 8 to 9 percent Metro North and LIRR ticket-increase. The increases are slated to go into effect March 1, 2013.
Fare increases aside, Lhota gained favor with many after he led the MTA in its speedy restoration of subway service in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Talk of a possible Lhota bid for mayor began to heat up when former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom Lhota served as a deputy mayor under, expressed his desire to see Lhota make a run.
A November Quinnipiac Poll projected that Lhota would get served by the impending democratic challenger in the 2013 election — in a 60 percent to 9 percent landslide.
Lhota will have to get by his competition in the Republican party first — as billionaire John Castimatidis, owner of the Gristedes grocery chain, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, newspaper executive Tom Allon and others have expressed their intent to chase the nomination.
The MTA board elected Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer as the agency’s vice-chairman. He will head the MTA as acting-chairman once Lhota officially steps down on Dec. 31.