The Richard Ravitch obituary serves as a testament to his immense contributions and lasting legacy in New York’s political and transportation spheres.
Richard Ravitch, a native New Yorker, dedicated his life to improving the financial stability, infrastructure, and governance of both New York City and the state.
Additionally, Richard demonstrated a deep commitment to enhancing the healthcare delivery system in New York, serving as a trustee of Mount Sinai Health System for almost four decades. His invaluable advice will always be cherished.
‘Titan of New York’s Civic World,’ Passes Away at 89
Richard Ravitch, the former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and lieutenant governor, who was credited with steering New York through its debt crisis in the 1970s, passed away at 89 in Manhattan on Sunday.
Governor Kathy Hochul described him as a steady, savvy, and brilliant leader, a true public servant.
The Richard Ravitch obituary pays tribute to a remarkable individual who played a pivotal role in shaping New York’s governance and infrastructure.
A Visionary Leader in Housing and Urban Development
Born in 1933 to a Jewish Russian immigrant family in Brooklyn, Richard grew up witnessing his father’s construction company shaping the Manhattan skyline with iconic buildings.
After assuming leadership of the family business, Richard Ravitch embarked on a remarkable journey of public service and achievement.
Richard Ravitch’s dedication to building affordable housing and fostering integrated communities earned him recognition and respect.
President Lyndon Johnson appointed him to the United States Commission on Urban Problems for his exceptional work in low-income, middle-class, and integrated housing complexes.
By the end of the 1960s, Richard was leading the Citizens Housing and Planning Council in New York City, contributing to the city’s urban planning and development.
Navigating the Debt Crisis
In 1975, Governor Hugh Carey entrusted Richard Ravitch with the task of running the New York State Urban Development Corporation, which was on the verge of collapse.
Through his strategic reorganization efforts, Richard transformed the corporation into an economic development arm of the executive branch.
He successfully convinced lawmakers to issue new debt backed by federal appropriations, which helped save the corporation and laid the groundwork for the Municipal Assistance Corporation.
Preventing Bankruptcy and Revitalizing the MTA
During the city’s dire financial crisis, Richard Ravitch played a pivotal role in preventing New York City from declaring bankruptcy.
He orchestrated a last-minute negotiation with the teachers’ union, securing their agreement to purchase municipal bonds with pension funds.
Richard also persuaded Washington officials to keep the banks open late, allowing the city to make a critical payment.
These efforts, along with the creation of the Municipal Assistance Corporation, helped New York City avoid bankruptcy. In 1979, Richard was appointed as the Metropolitan
Transportation Authority (MTA) chairman, where he spearheaded innovative measures to stabilize the agency.
His visionary plan involved selling buses and trains to private companies, which leased them back to the MTA in exchange for tax breaks.
Richard Ravitch’s contributions extended beyond his roles in government and public service. He ran for mayor in 1989 and continued to actively participate in shaping public policies.
He returned to public service in 2009 when Governor David Paterson appointed him as Deputy Governor. Richard’s wisdom and insights were invaluable during a challenging period of fiscal crisis following the Great Recession of 2008.