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Former New York MTA Chair Kiley dies


Robert Kiley, the fifth chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), died Aug. 9 at the age of 80.

Robert Kiley
MTA photo

Kiley served as MTA chairman from 1983, when he was appointed by then-New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, to January 1991.

He was a "principle catalyst of the system's remarkable transportation — from a symbol of urban decay to today's modern and vital economic engine," said MTA officials in a press release.

One of Kiley's most enduring legacies was the removal of graffiti throughout New York City's subway system. He also was instrumental in advancing MTA New York City Transit's fare system from tokens to the MetroCard.

Kiley put in place the first and second MTA capital programs, overseeing more than $167 billion worth of investments in the city's transit network. He focused the investments on the network's core infrastructure such as trains, buses, track, signals and thousands of components that most riders never see, MTA officials said.

"Bob's leadership helped the MTA focus on dramatically improving the safety and reliability of the network, led directly to the record ridership levels we see today and was central to the state's increased growth and prosperity,” said MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast. "He assembled a team and created a vision that brought the transit system back from the brink of disaster and under Gov. Mario M. Cuomo helped rebuild our region's economy."

Although his legacy will be the revival of New York City's subway system, Kiley also revived subway and bus systems in Boston and London.

Kiley's cause of death was due to complications of Alzheimer's disease, according to his family, The New York Times reported.