With his resignation being described as "sudden," a "surprise" and "abrupt," MTA Chairman Jay Walder will head to Hong Kong to lead the profitable—to the tune of over $1 billion—subway and commuter rail system, the MTR, later this fall. And, though many will miss him, no one can blame him: Bloomberg News reports, "MTR, 76.7 percent owned by the government, will pay him HK$7.2 million ($924,000) a year, an undisclosed discretionary bonus and interest in shares."

Walder's MTA salary is $350,000 but he had been making $500,000 in London. The MTA has a $10 billion shortfall projected for its upcoming budget, with lots of ambitious projects and lingering maintenance concerns, while the MTR is incredibly profitable, thanks to its ownership of real estate by its stations and partnerships with developers. Imagine if the MTA owned the land around Columbus Circle: The MTA would have partnered to build the Time-Warner Center and Trump International and then sold the apartments, splitting the revenues for 50-50 with developers, and then the MTA would also take over property management! Also, the MTR doesn't have buses and there's no union, of course.

An analyst told Bloomberg News, "Much of the [MTR]’s business plan in the near future has been in place for a while. The hiring of a new CEO is unlikely to change that. It’ll be a while before we can assess what impact he can bring to the company." The big challenges ahead for the MTR includes of its high-speed rail to China (which is under construction and will be connected to China's existing network), and the Wall Street Journal says, "The top job at Hong Kong's transit operator is one of the few with the power and prestige to rival Mr. Walder's current position."

Denise Richardson of the General Contractors Association told the NY Times, "He can go to a system that wants to be best in class, or he can stay and fight a system held together by duct tape. If I were Jay, and I had to weigh the two positions, I would go in a minute."

Former assemblyman Richard Brodsky told the WSJ, "[Walder] don't think he wanted to continue to manage scarcity. He signed on as an innovator and reformer. But he got hit with a tidal wave and ended up managing a cash crisis."