Candidate Joe Lhota

Former MTA chairman Joe Lhota

Joseph Lhota, former MTA chairman and chief executive officer, talks about running to be the Republican candidate for NYC mayor.

On deciding to run for mayor:

“I had been considering a run [before Sandy]. People had approached me on the Republican side to consider running. I didn’t give it a whole lot of serious thought until after Sandy.”

On the MTA’s Sandy planning: 

“First and foremost, all of the credit for how the trains were restored belongs to the workers. The workers did a phenomenal job.  We had numerous different planning events, tabletop exercises including management, as well as labor. And that’s a very, very important part on why the system came back as quickly as possible.”

“The most important thing that happened though is that when we knew the surge was coming, we took out as many relays, electronic relays, in lower Manhattan and in the tunnels, as much as we could. Those are the electronic components that actually tell the folks at the command center where the train is…By virtue of taking them out they weren’t affected by any of the salt water. It made all the difference in the world.” 

On his mayoral ambitions:

“I want to be mayor because as I looked at all the other candidates that were running for mayor, I thought that my background and my experience in the Giuliani Administration, at the MTA, and most importantly in the private sector really fit what the City needs going forward.”

“We’ve made tremendous strides and changes in the City of New York since 1994. The transformation has been spectacular. I actually believe that that transformation is very fragile and it will require a mayor who will be a leader who will continue the work that’s been done on crime prevention, that’s been done on all of the reforms that have gone on in the City.”

“The expenses are growing out of control, combined with the fact that the budget right now has no money in there whatsoever for any labor settlements either going back or going forward. If we give anything retroactive, it could be upward of 10 billion dollars we’re missing in the budget. The budget is going to be priority number one for the next mayor.”

On his opponents in the Mayor’s race:

“They’ve never run a complex organization before. Running City Council is one thing. Running the Public Advocate’s office is another thing. Being the City Controller, but it’s not about leadership, it’s not about management, and it’s clearly not about making decisions.”

On continuing the legacy of Rudy Giuliani:

“Rudy Giuliani did some phenomenal things in the city if you think of the transformation of the city and the quality of life. If you think about where people are living now in Brooklyn and in Queens and in parts of the City where no one thought anybody would ever live, they’re living there because it first started with the reduction of crime and the elimination of fear.”

On differentiating himself from Giuliani:

“What was unique about me being in City Hall during the Giuliani Administration, I was the only one who wasn’t an attorney. I may have been the only one who didn’t work in a prosecutor’s office. So I took a completely different point of view on how the city should be run. Very close to a business, very close on metrics and numbers.”

On getting the budget under control:

“There’s a huge number of employees who are going to be reitiring in the next four years. The next mayor’s going to have an opportunity to take advantage of technology, take advantage of innovation. And as people retire, for every two people that retire, can we just replace them with one and find a better way of doing it?”