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Considering Serious Changes, MTA Board May Shift Transit Guru Byford To More Diminished Role

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- More big changes could be coming to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The board is expected to get proposals -- as early as Monday -- on how to restructure the agency. That could mean a different role for city transit chief Andy Byford, CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported.

Byford arrived at the MTA ready to get to work in January 2018. The agency touted that a "globally renowned transit expert" would be taking over as president of New York City Transit, including subways and buses. He was charged with turning around a failing system and he responded by launching "Fast Forward," a plan, he said, to completely modernize it.

But now, just a year and a half later, the popular transit chief's role could be diminished.

Andy Byford
The city's new transit boss started his first day on the job by riding the subway Tuesday. (credit: CBS2)

The board is set to consider dozens of money-saving recommendations to reorganize and consolidate management at the MTA.

The Daily News reported that "a recent draft of that plan included measures that would drastically reduce Byford's influence at the agency."

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The newspaper also said the proposal calls for splitting subways and buses into two agencies, leaving Byford to run the subways. On top of that, the report says Byford is expected to lose control of subway construction projects.

Instead, sources told CBS2, all MTA construction projects could be consolidated under one umbrella.

"I think the Daily News was basically a tool for forces in the bureaucracy that fear change to oppose change," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

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Grymes asked asked Gov. Cuomo on a conference call Monday to comment on the MTA's reorganization and reports that Byford's role could be reduced. Cuomo did not mention the transit chief or anyone by name.

"I am sure that when you change a bureaucracy, there will be certain people who are unhappy with proposed changes," the governor said.

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Cuomo argued the MTA has to be reformed into an agency that doesn't allow massive problems to develop in the first place, like what the agency is trying to deal with now.

The MTA board has until the end of this month to approve a reorganization plan. Cuomo pointed out that until then, we will not know exactly what that plan entails.

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