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Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast officially announced yesterday that MTA Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut will retire on Jan. 31 and be succeeded by Joseph Giulietti.New York City news media reported the pending leadership change earlier this week, following a year of troubling incidents at the railroad, including the Dec. 1 train derailment that killed four passengers and injured more than 70 others.Permut has been a senior Metro-North executive since he helped found the railroad in 1983, and has served as president for more than five years. He has overseen the railroad's expansion of service and ridership, MTA officials said in a press release.Giulietti has been executive director of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority for more than 14 years. Previously, he served as a Metro-North executive for 15 years."Joe [Giulietti] began his railroad career as a brakeman and assistant conductor on the Penn Central Railroad, and has honed his operational and leadership skills through positions of increasing responsibility," Prendergast said. "I am confident Joe will quickly focus on enhancing Metro-North's strong operational standards and safety practices, while continuing to develop the railroad’s future as a critical link in the region’s transportation system and economy."Meanwhile, former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was named the new co-chairman of Building America's Future (BAF), where he will serve alongside fellow co-chairs former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.A former Republican congressman who served as transportation secretary during President Barack Obama's first term, LaHood will help lead BAF's bipartisan coalition of current and former elected officials who are committed to raising awareness about the need to invest in the nation's roads, bridges, rails, airports and ports, BAF officials said in a press release."While there is widespread agreement that our nation's aging roads, bridges, transit and aviation systems are woefully inadequate, Washington has failed to show leadership in making the tough decisions to increase revenue to fund these critical investments," LaHood said. "With the Highway Trust Fund just months away from insolvency, it's time for action."
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