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Stephen R. Banta is the Chief Executive Officer of Valley Metro responsible for the operation, design and construction of an expanding regional transit system in metro Phoenix, Arizona. Banta began his leadership role with his arrival to the Valley in January 2010. He has served in the public transit industry for 26 years, starting his career repairing rail cars in San Diego to previously working as the Executive Director of Operations for TriMet in Portland. Over his career, Banta has worked in progressively important positions for several other public transit agencies, including in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Dallas and Pittsburgh.
As CEO of Valley Metro, Banta oversees a dynamic bus and light rail system transporting 245,000 passengers daily. While managing an annual budget of $364 million, Banta partners with member cities to operate 100 local and express bus routes, a 20-mile light rail system as well as regional marketing, customer service and rideshare programs. Banta supports 16 member agencies across two Boards of Directors comprised of local and county elected officials. He manages the 20-year regional transit program that provides funds for essential capital projects and services. Banta is also charged with the planning, design and construction of 37 additional miles of future high capacity/rail extensions.
Banta’s keys to success include building a supportive environment for employees, a commitment to keeping equipment and facilities in a state of good repair, a strong relationship with community stakeholders and an unrelenting focus on the customer. Banta believes that the single most important aspect of leading a transit agency is having an understanding and appreciation for the “view through the windshield.” His customer focus combined with a deep working knowledge of bus and rail operations serves Valley Metro well in its effort to enhance current services and build a total transit network in the Valley of the Sun.