Phillip Washington, former CEO of Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD) was selected Thursday as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency’s new chief executive officer, starting no later than May 29.
“There’s a lot of work to be done, and we will function as a team in doing it,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said during a press conference at Metro on Thursday. “Phillip Washington’s experience in Denver of delivering projects on time and on budget is precisely what all of us have desired and expected, and we fully look forward to that happening here in Los Angeles as we move toward the implementation of Measure R.”
Washington said he was looking forward to delivering “the best possible transit experience and infrastructure for the LA area.”
“I take that responsibility very seriously, and I also take very seriously being a good steward of taxpayer dollars,” he said.
Washington is an Army veteran who grew up in the south side of Chicago. In Denver, he was responsible for a $2.8-billion operating budget and $5 billion in transit expansion projects, including one of the largest in the country, FasTracks. He ensured the award-winning Denver Union Station was completed five months ahead of schedule and the West Line Rail was completed eight months ahead of schedule. The latter was under budget as well.
During Washington’s tenure, RTD achieved an on-time bus and rail rate of 90 percent, and his emphasis on safety training led to a 40 percent decline in preventable bus accidents in 2012.
Metro has a budget of $5.5 billion and, with a Measure R, is in the process of building or planning five new rail lines, widening freeways, and dozens of other transit, highway and mobility projects.
“This is a pivotal appointment at a pivotal time,”Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the news conference. “I’m confident we have chosen the best possible CEO at Metro, who will work side by side with us (the Metro board) to cut commutes, to cut smog, to drive prosperity across our entire region.”