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NEW YORK CITY-New York Governor David Paterson named Jay Walder CEO and Chair at the Metropolitan Transit Authority Tuesday. Walder is currently a partner at McKinsey’s London office and head of that firm’s infrastructure unit.

Facing an estimated $20-billion budget shortfall, Walder will have to climb a steep hill to restore budget stability and credibility at the MTA. The agency, which recently increased the cost of a subway ride by 25 cents while, among other things, selling prime ‘development ripe’ land for a fraction of its appraised value, has come under fire by both the public as well as other officials as of late.

And, as the mess that is Albany readies for its summer recess, after a session equated by many to a circus, there’s simply no telling when Walder will be confirmed. However, there’s little doubt that Walder is familiar with the workings of the MTA and the often dysfunctional governing body upstate that controls much of its purse-strings.

From 1983 to 1995, Walder worked for the MTA even serving as the agency’s ED and CFO from 1993 to 1995. In 2000, Walder moved on to England and the land of the ‘tube’ where he assumed the managing director for finance position at Transport London, a job he held for six years. Midway through his term in 2003, the city implemented its congestion-pricing plan, providing another spigot of funding for the vast system.

When Walder left Transport London in 2006, London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone said in a statement he’d “made a huge contribution to transport,” in that city. Lingstone added that “[Walder's] financial expertise unlocked the biggest investment in London’s transport in the last 50 years.”

On Tuesday, Paterson said in his own statement that he was certain “Jay will shepherd the Authority into the 21st century, helping to achieve fiscal solvency as well as greater transparency and public accountability.” While in London, Walder also helped create a $20 billion capital improvement plan. He also served on the board of Crossrail, a new $30 billion long-term rail-line under London.<P<In a statement, New York Building Congress president Richard Anderson called Walder's appointment "excellent." Anderson added that "we look forward to working with the Governor and Jay in what we hope will be a thorough evaluation of how the agency is managed, operated and financed, as well as a comprehensive review of the MTA's present and future capital needs."

By the time Walder left the MTA in 1995, he’d witnessed or led a number of funding clashes between the MTA, city and state over who would pay for physical overhauls of the system. But in a May 10, 1993 New York Times article, the now newly nominated MTA chief offered allusions to a compromising nature in the process, saying “there are more efficient ways of achieving our objectives, and we should challenge ourselves on that. But we should not lose sigh of that objective: rider-ship growth with better service and pricing incentives.”

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