Highlights of Metro CEO Phil Washington’s first year on the job

Metro CEO Phil Washington chatting with a customer at the Gold Line's Monrovia Station in March.

Metro CEO Phil Washington chatting with a customer at the Gold Line’s Monrovia Station in March.

Metro’s CEO Phil Washington has now been on the job for one year. He was previously the general manager of the Regional Transportation District that serves the Greater Denver region and he oversaw a significant transit expansion program there.

“Through his leadership, Phil Washington has galvanized Metro to effectively implement L.A County’s transit expansion program – the largest, most ambitious program of its kind in the nation,” said Mark Ridley-Thomas, Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles County Supervisor. “Over the last year, Phil has brought a new focus on innovation, project efficiency, customer service, safety and human capital investment that will enable Metro to better meet the future mobility needs of our entire county.”

Here’s a roundup of agency accomplishments in the past year:

•One rail project has opened this year — the Gold Line to Azusa. And the long-awaited Expo extension to Santa Monica begins service on May 20. Three other rail projects funded by Measure R are under construction.

•The Crenshaw/LAX Line is about half complete and a community celebration was held earlier this month. The rail line will connect the Expo Line, Los Angeles International Airport and the Green Line when it opens in 2019.

•The NoHo to Pasadena Express began service on March 1, offering quick rides between the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys. The express bus service uses the 134 freeway and connects job centers and key destinations in Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank and North Hollywood.

•Staff has released the budget for the next fiscal year and it’s slightly less than the budget for the current year — even with construction projects underway and two new rail lines to operate.

•Metro now offers a leadership program, the idea being to retain and help advance employees’ careers and take advantage of talent already working at the agency. Fifty-five percent of Academy participants are women.

The Office of Extraordinary Innovation is up and running. The new office will bring best practices in transportation and finance to Los Angeles County. A widely-attended industry forum was held in February to better connect Metro with the private sector and the office has received 12 proposals for new partnerships with the private sector. 

•Working with local officials across Los Angeles County, Metro has developed a potential sales tax ballot measure that would raise $120 billion for transportation improvements, including 38 projects. The plan is now under review by county residents and the Metro Board of Directors.

•A new program called Operation Shovel Ready is working to prepare future projects for construction as soon as funding becomes available.

•Metro continues to work with the Federal Transit Administration on securing a grant to help fund construction of the second section of the Purple Line Extension to downtown Beverly Hills and Century City.

•Phil has appeared at dozens of forums and community meetings around Los Angeles County in an effort to meet Metro customers and stakeholders.

“It has been a very rewarding and very busy first year living and working in Southern California,” said Washington. “I’m very grateful every day for the opportunity to help lead the Metro team. We’ve had some very positive steps forward in the past year and I’m confident our work will make it easier for everyone to get around the region for years to come.”

3 replies

  1. IMO Mr. Washington has been a great improvement and unlike previous Metro CEOs who, like Punxsutawney Phil, rarely left their bureaucratic bunkers. He needs to continue increasing Metro’s non-PR regular contact with its customers:

    – The useful technology of the Telephone Town Hall needs to be expanded to more Metro committees, especially the difficult-to-reach Local Service Council meetings. And improve the followup drastically – my three messages have yet to be returned!!

    – Create online discussion forums for Local Service Councils and special projects. Single queue, drive-by social media postings are not the same thing as a discussion thread! The existing email contact system is near useless as requests are misdirected, ignored or worse treated like a mailing list request (looking at YOU, Crenshaw LAX project).

    – TAP still needs improvement with suggestions and pre-revenue *testing* feedback from the ridership. We do not have confidence in Metro staff to get it right by themselves.