Michael Horodniceanu, Guru of NY City Subways


Michael Horodniceanu, Ph.D., P.E., was the President of MTA Capital Construction. Appointed in August 2008, Dr. Horodniceanu led the largest transit infrastructure construction program in the nation, and the largest subway expansion program in over 60 years, overseeing $18 billion dollars in network expansion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s mega projects including East Side Access, Second Avenue Subway, the No. 7 Line Extension, Fulton Center and the MTA Capital Security program.He retired in 2017.

Dr. Horodniceanu is a recognized expert in the field of transportation infrastructure and has over 35 years of leadership experience in the public and private sectors. Prior to joining MTA Capital Construction, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Urbitran Group, a New York City-based engineering/architectural firm, ranked by Engineering News Record as one of New York’s top 20 firms and top 270 in the United States.

From 1986 to 1990 Dr. Horodniceanu served as New York City’s Traffic Commissioner, overseeing an annual $4 billion capital construction program.

Dr. Horodniceanu has also taught transportation planning, highway design, traffic engineering, transportation financing, and system safety as a full-time professor in both the undergraduate and graduate schools of Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-POLY) and Manhattan College.

Dr. Horodniceanu earned a Ph.D. in Transportation Planning & Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-POLY), a Master’s in Engineering Management from Columbia University and a Bachelor in Civil Engineering from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Dr. Horodniceanu is a licensed Professional Engineer.

If you’re attending an early morning real estate panel all the way Downtown, a good way to wake up might not just be a cup of coffee, but to listen to Michael Horodniceanu.

The career urban planner lights up members of the crowd with updates and breakdowns of the train system in New York City—bringing out one’s inner train nerd.

As the president of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Capital Construction, Mr. Horodniceanu (pronounced: horad-nitchy-anu) has spent the last seven years responsible for projects that will eventually make the trains run on time.

Michael Horodniceanu / American Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief engineer, and President of the MTA Capital Construction
photo: Celeste Sloman/ New York Observer

Are you an MTA commuter?
No. I drive a truck. In the back of my truck I have boots and hard hats and all kinds of things. I should have had a telephone booth so I can go in and be like Superman and change. But I’m not, so I close the door and normally I will go in the morning to a site and I will be dressed in jeans and a T-shirt and a hard hat. I come here and I change and sometimes I change again.

You always have such good bow ties. Where do you get those?
I get them at Paul Stuart. And I actually buy when I travel overseas.

Could a new real estate fee solve the city’s subway crisis?

Former MTA official pitches “transit-maintenance district” to help fund system.

A fee on office buildings below 60th Street could be key to fixing New York City’s beleaguered subway system, according to a top former MTA official.
Michael Horodniceanu, the former head of MTA capital construction, said creating a transit-maintenance district that would pay money toward keeping the subway in good shape could be an effective way to solve the system’s funding issues, according to Crain’s.
Office buildings in Manhattan are the biggest beneficiaries of the city’s mass transit system, so Horodniceanu pitched putting a $1.50 charge on rents in office space below 60th Street, which generally go for between $60 to $70 per square foot. This would raise more than $1 billion per year, he said.

Horodniceanu is possibly the least well-known and most respected high-level M.T.A. official. You don’t know about him in part because he’s not in charge of making trains run on time, or rerouting lines, or determining your MetroCard prices. His job is much bigger: He is in charge of every major construction project the authority is undertaking, including but not limited to complex undertakings like the Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access, a plan that would make it possible for commuter rail from Long Island to reach Grand Central Station.

From his office window on the eighth floor of M.T.A. headquarters at 2 Broadway, you can see both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

The building itself is extremely intimidating, a black cloud looming over the Bowling Green subway station. The lobby is clad in black marble, and security is such that even after presenting identification and arriving on the eighth floor, the double glass doors on each side are locked.

Find other great stories about New York Subways at New York Subway

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