Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) CEO Phillip A. Washington joined Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti and incoming new Metro Board Chair, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl in delivering the annual State of the Agency report today to Metro Board Members, community leaders and stakeholders at Union Station.
“Metro doesn’t just move this city, it connects our communities, powers our economy forward, and gives our region a shared sense of identity,” said Metro Board Chair and Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti. “Thanks to Measure M, the future of transportation in Los Angeles has never been brighter. I’m excited to continue our work to ease congestion and deliver the world-class transportation network our region deserves.”
During his term as Board Chair, Mayor Garcetti helped use the momentum of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic games to adopt 28 by ’28, an initiative to build and accelerate 28 major transportation projects by 2028. Mayor Garcetti also oversaw several groundbreakings, including the Purple Line Extension Section 2 to Century City and Gold Line Foothill Extension to Claremont, and helped Metro adopt the most aggressive electric bus goal of any large transit agency in America, pledging to make its bus fleet 100% zero emissions by 2030.
Metro Vice Chair Supervisor Kuehl discussed a number of exciting projects happening at Metro. She is looking forward to continuing to work with the Board and Metro CEO Phil Washington on improving the experience of those riding the Metro system. In addition, she plans on working with Metro’s Women and Girls Council to continue to focus on training and hiring more women in non-traditional career positions. Supervisor Kuehl expressed her enthusiasm for Metro’s undertaking of the NextGen Bus Study, which will reevaluate the bus routes that carry over 70% of our ridership.
“I am really looking forward to becoming Metro Chair next month” said Metro Vice Chair Kuehl. “We have a great number of exciting projects and initiatives coming to fruition and I look forward to continuing to focus on our riders and employees, especially as our programs impact women, and their unique experiences and needs, in the year to come.”
Washington unveiled his Five-Point-Plan for the agency, with the first point addressing the need to implement mobility innovation calling for high-quality options that enable people to spend less time traveling and noting that Measure M is the most ambitious and comprehensive voter-approved transportation program in America.
“This is why we are waging a transportation revolution,” said Washington. “It’s about developing a variety of choices that will make it easier to ride Metro or to get around by combining transit with travel via cars, bikes, rideshare, walking or options not yet developed.”
He noted that partnering with the private sector is an important tool and added that Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation has now evaluated 100 unsolicited proposals received through the agency’s unsolicited proposals policy and as a result Metro is pursuing public-private partnerships on two major project that include the West Santa Ana Branch and the Sepulveda Transit Corridor projects.
Point 2: Capture the Hearts and Minds of the People
Washington stressed the need to enhance the rider experience, with the goal of increasing ridership, a major priority for the agency. Metro is reimagining its bus service with the ongoing NextGen Bus Service Study that will evaluate Metro’s current system and determine ways to redesign it to meet the needs of the community now and well into the 21st century.
Also noted was through the agency’s new advertising contract, Metro will be converting to digital information displays at all Metro rail stations and provide amenities including free WiFi, charging stations, interactive tablets to search for community information, and the ability to make free phone calls, right from the panels on digital kiosks.
Point 3: Embrace Equity
The Metro Board of Directors recently approved an Equity Platform, a guide to ensure that Metro is considering all people as it plans, builds and operates transportation, the agency wants to enhance communities and lives through mobility and access to opportunity.
The Equity Platform will be a key component of Metro’s Long-Range Transportation Plan, currently underway at the agency. He stressed that Metro wants to influence the development of transit-oriented communities that help the indigenous people of a neighborhood to thrive and prevent their displacement.
Point 4: Build the Industry
Metro is building the workforce of the future with a career pathway that provides opportunities for people to move into transportation jobs and move up through the ranks.
Washington said the agency is on track to face a huge challenge in the coming years — with the transportation industry needing an influx of qualified workers. He noted the launch of the Workforce Initiative Now-LA (WIN-LA) as a groundbreaking program focused on creating career pathways in the transportation industry. Since its launch last summer, the WIN-LA has been introduced to prime contractors, small businesses and other potential partners to encourage their participation.
Point 5: Step into Leadership Voids
To this effort Washington noted that transportation is the instigator of so many things. It’s a socio-economic enabler, and said we are here to instigate. He concluded by saying he wanted to lay the ground work in bringing a major rail car manufacturer to Los Angeles County and announce the convening of a roundtable soon with the rail car industry.
Submitted by Rick Jager/Joni Goheen, Metro Media Relations