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Jay H. Walder, Chairman and CEO, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Harvard Kennedy School MPP '83
Confronted with significant budget problems not long after he became head of the MTA in late 2009, Jay Walder has overseen the most aggressive cost-cutting initiative in the history of the organization, with cumulative savings expected to reach nearly $4 billion by 2014. At the same time, he has pursued long-overdue service improvements and maintained focus on critical capital investments.
Despite these efforts, the MTA's long-term operating and capital budgets remain fragile with significant out-year deficits. Achieving fiscal stability for New York's vital transit system - without dramatic increases in government aid - may require fundamental changes in the agency's cost structure. Issues to be addressed include spiraling pension and health care costs, as well as the need to tie wage increases to productivity gains. How this issue is resolved not only will have significant implications for the nation’s other transit agencies but also for other parts of the public sector as well.