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William Ronan, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) first chairman, died last week. He was 101.Ronan was named chairman of the agency, then known as the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority (MCTA), in 1965 by New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. A well-known advocate of public transportation, Ronan was key to the expansion of transit options in the New York region during his tenure, MTA officials said in a press release. He later served as head of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey."Bill Ronan was a legend in the field of public transportation and an inspiration for everyone who understands that mass transit is the engine that powers New York," said MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast. "His vision of how an integrated transportation system can improve the region, and his skill in turning that vision into reality, have made life better for millions of our customers every day. We at the MTA send our deepest condolences to his family, and remember his service fondly."Under the Rockefeller administration, Ronan helped set up the Tri-State Regional Transportation Commission, which was created as a transportation group to serve the commuting needs of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. In 1965, he served as the governor’s representative during negotiations to purchase the Long Island Rail Road from the Pennsylvania Railroad. Ronan served as the head of the MTA from March 1968 to April 1974, when he became chairman of the port authority. The MCTA became the MTA in 1967.
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