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Phoenix, AZ (Feb. 16, 2012) Today, two separate boards of directors representing the regional bus and rail transit agencies have selected Stephen R. Banta to lead Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority (RPTA) and METRO light rail as the single chief executive officer. Banta has been serving as the METRO light rail CEO since January 2010, following a national search in 2009.
“We are delighted with the decision to have Steve Banta as the single CEO that will lead both RPTA and METRO,” said Tempe Councilmember Shana Ellis who serves as a Board member for both agencies. “It speaks to greater efficiencies as we continue to deal with budget challenges.” Ellis led the working group that developed the plans for establishing a dual leadership role that will be governed by two separate Boards of Directors.
According to the 2012 RPTA Chair, Peoria Vice Mayor Ron Aames, “The selection of Banta was optimal due to his current knowledge of the Valley’s transit environment and extensive bus and rail transit experience at agencies such as TriMet in Portland and the Port Authority in Pittsburgh.”
“I am pleased to have this opportunity and the confidence of both Boards to serve as the single CEO,” said Steve Banta, newly selected CEO for RPTA and METRO. “This is a positive step forward in creating a more efficient and robust transit system, which will result in benefits to our regional customers and communities.”
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton approved today’s decision. “Cities can think and act regionally on critical issues,” said Stanton. “Delivering an efficient and effective transit system crosses city boundaries and impacts the entire region. This is a step in the right direction.”
Mesa Councilmember and Vice Chair of the METRO light rail Board, Dennis Kavanaugh, stated, “Steve Banta has been an effective leader for METRO light rail and, with his multi-modal transit experience, is the right person to also serve RPTA.” Kavanaugh also served as a representative on the working group with Councilmember Ellis. “The METRO Board has long-been an advocate for a single CEO. It is the best business decision for how we advance transit in the Valley and in this economy.”
Banta will begin serving in his new role as CEO of both transit agencies on March 1, 2012.
About Valley Metro
Valley Metro RPTA provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County, including a clean-fuel bus fleet, low-emissions light rail, a bio-diesel Dial-a-Ride fleet, online carpool matching and bus trip mapping, bicycle safety and telework assistance. Funding is provided by local and federal revenues. A board of 16 governments sets the policy direction for the agency and works to improve and regionalize the public transit system. All service and projects funded by the Proposition 400 Regional Transportation Plan funds approved by Maricopa County voters in November 2004.
Valley Metro Rail (dba METRO light rail) is responsible for the development and operation of the region’s high-capacity transit system. The first 20-mile light rail line opened December 2008 and served 13.2 million riders in 2011, exceeding the prior year by four percent. METRO serves an average of 40,000 riders per weekday. It is also planning for six extensions that will create a 57-mile system by 2031.