It’s been less than a week since news broke that the head of New York City Transit Andy Byford resigned, and then rescinded his resignation. What we still don’t know is when exactly Byford resigned, what was in his resignation letter, and what he was told by MTA leadership and/or Governor Andrew Cuomo that changed his mind.
“Andy's here, I expect he's going to be here for a long time, his and his team's performance speaks for themselves," Chairman Pat Foye told reporters after Wednesday’s MTA board meeting.
Anyone hoping for an explanation before the full MTA board, the fiduciaries of the agency, or Chairman Foye, who was asked for more details five different ways by reporters on Wednesday, was sorely disappointed.
“I had some concerns that I expressed to my principals at the MTA,” Byford said at a bus event in the Bronx on Wednesday. “Those concerns have been addressed. So as far as I’m concerned, that’s behind us.”
Politico’s reporting on the resignation letter cited concerns about interference and pressure from Governor Cuomo, and that Byford was spending too much time “having to help organize gubernatorial-driven conferences about signaling and technology.”
On Wednesday, Foye dismissed this idea, calling it “ridiculous.”
"We're going to spend $51.5 billion, it behooves us to make sure that whatever technology is available in the US or around the world that can help our customers and make their commutes quicker, safer, more reliable, more resilient, we're all in for it," Foye said.
Foye again reminded reporters that Byford was present and accounted for. (Which was true. Byford was sitting a few feet away, but not speaking for himself.)
“Andy is here and he's done an extraordinary job, as have Phil Eng and Cathy Rinaldi, and Danny [DeCrescenzo, Acting President of MTA Bridges and Tunnels],” Foye said. “And the proof is in the pudding, and the proof of the pudding is increased ridership and on time performance on the subways four months in a row above 80 percent.”
The MTA declined to comment further. The governor’s office has not commented at all on Byford’s resignation, and a spokesperson says they don’t intend on ever doing so.