Local News News West Edition

New Metro leader comes from Denver

LOS ANGELES — The head of Denver’s Regional Transportation District has named as CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Phillip Washington has been CEO of the Denver transit system since 2009. He is expected to start his job as Metro CEO around mid-May.

“Phil Washington is the ideal person to manage our $36 billion transportation infrastructure program to ease congestion, cut smog and boost our economy for decades to come,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who chairs the Metro board.

Garcetti, who made the announcement following a special board meeting at Metro headquarters, said the decision to appoint Washington was unanimous.

Washington, 57, brings with him a “stellar record of success,” Garcetti said.

In Denver, Washington has been helping to develop the FasTracks program, one of the largest voter-approved transit expansion programs in the U.S. He’s responsible for a budget of $2.8 billion and manages more than $5 billion in active transportation projects.

Under his management, RTD’s West Line Rail was finished eight months early and came in under budget. The Denver Union Station was completed five months ahead of time under Washington’s direction.

“His experience in Denver delivering on projects is needed as we continue to expand the Metro system and carry out the will of the voters,” county Supervisor and Metro Vice Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas said.

Ridley-Thomas said Washington, who spent 24 years in the U.S. Army, has a history of “delivering projects on time and on budget.”

The Chicago native said he is “ready to go,” and his priorities include providing “clean, efficient, reliable … accessible and cost-effective service across the county area” and trying to get projects done faster than the anticipated schedule.

He also said he wants to ensure transportation projects benefit not just large contractors, but also smaller subcontractors and “individuals walking down the street,” especially “in terms of job creation.”

“I’m excited about partnering with all of you,” Washington told members of the Metro board. “I’m excited about what we can do in this region. I’ll have nothing stand in the way of excellence. … I look forward to partnering with you to further transform this region.”

Washington will succeed Art Leahy, who announced earlier this year he would be leaving Metro in April.

Leahy already has agreed to become the CEO of Metrolink, the rail system that spans six Southern California counties.

Metrolink is overseen by the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, a 11-person board representing Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Metrolink also serves northern San Diego County.