Albany kills MTA split leadership bill that tapped Sarah Feinberg as first female chair

ALBANY — A bill that would have split up the MTA’s top leadership post and made Sarah Feinberg the authority’s first female chair is dead in Albany, following opposition from lawmakers.

“People raised concerns about consolidating too much power into the hands of the governor,  that was a concern. Other people were raising the issue of the choice of Sarah Feinberg,” bill sponsor state Sen. Diane Savino (D-Brooklyn/Staten Island) told The Post Wednesday following an internal meeting among members of the state Senate Democratic conference.

The legislation — backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo — was introduced late Tuesday and would have split the MTA’s chair and CEO roles, with Feinberg selected as chairwoman and Janno Lieber, presently the MTA’s chief development officer, would be appointed CEO.

“It became clear that this was a lot more layered than we thought so we aren’t going to pursue it,” Savino added.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at Rochdale Village Community Center in Queens on April 5, 2021
Gov. Andrew Cuomo had been behind the proposal for the MTA.
Brendan McDermid,Pool/Getty Images

“[Lawmakers] didn’t appear to be supportive of the idea of separating the two positions.”

The MTA had no immediate comment when contacted by The Post.

The bill would have also allowed Cuomo to bypass the procedural confirmation process for Lieber’s role, allowing the governor to appoint an individual to the role, instead of putting the nomination to a vote before the state Senate.

Savino said opposition from powerful labor groups — the Transport Workers Union and groups repping Long Island Rail Road workers — also helped kill the bill.

Progressive lawmakers like state Senate Labor Committee Chairwoman Jessica Ramos (D-Queens) and Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-The Bronx) both told The Post they would oppose the bill as well if it came up for a vote.

NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg speaks outside Jamaica Hospital about having more police in the subway system after 2 MTA employees where attacked on trains
Sarah Feinberg has been interim transit president since March 2020.
Dennis A. Clark

“What we need is not to be like splitting roles in the MTA, I think we need a very strong person at the helm,” Biaggi told The Post.

“We need somebody there who is not going to just be a figurehead. We need somebody who’s going to be a leader, because our MTA has been a problem for a while,” she said.

The legislative session is scheduled to wrap up on Thursday, June 10.

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