Los Angeles Mayor and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board Chair Eric Garcetti announced today that Metro Chief Executive Officer Phillip A. Washington is stepping down later this year.
“Phil Washington has been a visionary leader, reimagining our transit network and steering our region toward an era of generational growth and lasting progress,” said Mayor Garcetti. “With Phil at the helm, Metro had a clear direction, strong steward, and champion for Measure M. He leaves this agency much better than he found it, with an expanding public transportation system that remains a force for sustainability, equity, jobs, workforce development and shared prosperity across the L.A. area.”
Washington recently informed the Metro Board that he does not plan to seek a new contract or extend his current contract, which expires in May of this year.
“It has been my distinct pleasure and absolute honor to serve and lead Metro’s nearly 11,000 employees for the last six years,” said Washington. “I leave with great satisfaction knowing that working together we have improved mobility and increased access to opportunity for all residents of L.A. County, and weathered the most devastating health crisis of the past century. We have quickened the sense and pace of public service and left L.A. County’s mobility space better than it was.”
As Metro’s CEO, Washington manages a balanced annual budget of $7 billion, is responsible for overseeing $18 billion to $20 billion in capital construction projects and provides oversight of the nation’s third busiest transit agency that transports 1.2 million passengers (pre-COVID) daily on a fleet of 2,200 clean-air buses and six rail lines. Washington is also engaged in all facets of transportation and infrastructure in L.A. County including aviation, goods movement, freight/railroads, water, public works, housing and transit-oriented communities.
“Phil Washington has provided exemplary leadership for Metro throughout his tenure, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board First Vice Chair Hilda L. Solis. “The past year brought a myriad of challenges for the agency in terms of budget, operations and capital projects — and Phil met the moment every time.”
Washington, who has been with Metro since May 2015, spearheaded a number of notable successes including the passage of Measure M, the largest transportation investment ballot measure in North America. L.A. County voters overwhelmingly approved Measure M by more than 71 percent, launching the nation’s largest public works program that will create an estimated 700,000 jobs in the region.
He was also instrumental in securing $9 billion in grant funding over the past five years by working with Metro’s federal and state partners and building their trust in Metro’s leadership and undeniable track record of success.
“I have served the public in three different cities and on countless boards over the past 48 years. Worked with some great managers and leaders…none greater than Phil Washington,” said Inglewood Mayor and immediate past Metro Board Chair James Butts. “Metro and Los Angeles County will sorely miss him. Thank you for your visionary leadership and service.”
Workforce development and advancing equity have been the hallmarks of Washington’s tenure at Metro. Under his leadership, Metro aggressively created real opportunities for small, women-owned, minority-owned and veteran-owned businesses, including the first Prime contract for a minority business.
“Our Operators are frontline heroes and have remained steadfast in their commitment to service and moving essential workers during some of the toughest challenges of this country, including but not limited to the COVID-19 surges,” continued Washington.
Washington elevated and encouraged Metro’s greatest asset, its workforce (present and future), by advancing and institutionalizing real and effective employee professional development programs, including the SEED Transportation School of Los Angeles County, Workforce Initiative Now (WIN), the Metro Leadership Academy, the ENO Multi-Agency Exchange Program and the creation of the Women and Girls Governing Council (WGGC), which released a groundbreaking study that is changing the way the transportation industry addresses and responds to the needs of how women and girls travel.
Under Washington’s leadership, innovation flourished at Metro. He placed emphasis on not just talking about innovation but implementing it in concrete ways that help real people improve their lives. The Office of Extraordinary Innovation, Metro Micro, Mobility on Demand, the NextGen Bus Study, Metro’s TAP apps for Apple and Android phones, a partnership with the Transit app and the very real possibility of a Fareless Transit System in L.A. County are a few examples.
And, finally, as a disabled U.S. Army veteran, Washington has honorably served his country. The Metro Board of Directors is grateful for his service to the people of Los Angeles County and to the United States of America. The Board will conduct a national search for the next CEO.