The MTA has been without a chairman ever since Joe Lhota decided to run for mayor right before the end of last year. Finally, Governor Cuomo has picked who he wants to lead the agency: Current NYC Transit President Thomas Prendergast.

Prendergast has been the MTA's Interim Executive Director since Lhota's departure, and Cuomo says, "Tom Prendergast is a consummate public transit leader who is the ideal candidate to oversee the nation’s largest transportation system,” said Governor Cuomo. “The MTA plays a vital role in New York’s economy and the daily lives of the millions of commuters who use its services. Tom has vast experience in infrastructure and transportation and has spent years managing commuter railroads as well as New York City’s subways and buses. From the track bed to the budget to modernizing our system for the 21st Century, I can’t imagine anyone having a better understanding of how the region’s vast system operates and the challenges that it faces."

Prendergast issued a statement as well, "It is an incredible honor to be nominated to lead the largest transportation network in North America, and to work with Governor Cuomo and his administration on the many challenges facing the MTA. The MTA will improve the customer experience, operate more efficiently and build for the future. And we will aggressively rebuild smarter and better in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Governor Cuomo has demonstrated his strong support of the MTA in fully funding our capital plan, in allocating additional funding to the MTA in his latest budget, and of course in his leadership during and after Sandy struck. I look forward to working with the governor, his management team, the MTA Board and the 66,000 dedicated employees of the MTA family."

Prendergast will need to be approved by the State Senate, but the Straphangers' Campaign likes him: Gene Russianoff, the group's staff attorney, said, "Tom Prendergast has the hands on skill and long commitment to transit to make a great head of the M.T.A. The Straphangers’ Campaign has found Tom to be accessible, knowledgeable, smart and fair." As does Lhota, who told the Observer, "Tom Prendergast is a superb choice and he has a unique understanding of the system. And I know of no one who cares more for the customers and the riders than Tom Prendergast. As chairman, I relied on him more than anyone and I think it’s a great choice."

Here's more about Prendergast's history:

Mr. Prendergast is a career public transit officer and former MTA executive who was appointed President of MTA New York City Transit in November 2009. Prendergast, then the CEO at TransLink in Vancouver, B.C., returned to New York and took office December 1, 2009.

A native of Chicago, with a systems engineering degree from the University of Illinois, Mr. Prendergast began his career at the Chicago Transit Authority in 1975. From there, he joined the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, DC, then moved to the New York City Transit Authority in 1982 as Assistant Director of System Safety. In 1984, he was named Chief of the TA’s System Safety Department. In 1987 he became Staten Island General Manager, and in 1989, the agency’s Chief Electrical Officer. Then in 1991, he was named Senior Vice President of the Department of Subways.

In 1994, Prendergast left Subways’ SVP office at Jay Street in Brooklyn to become President of the Long Island Rail Road. In 2000, he left the public sector to work as a consultant in transportation. Over the next eight years, he worked on numerous project and program management assignments in the UK, North America and Asia. He returned to the public sector in 2008 with his move to TransLink, Vancouver’s public transportation system.