By Laura J. Nelson, January 6, 2015
MTA Chief Executive Officer Art Leahy, left, says he will resign in
April. Here he consults with then MTA board member Richard Katz in 2010
as the Metrolink commuter rail unveiled new rail cars equipped with
The chief executive of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan
Transportation Authority said Tuesday that he would step down in April
after six years of overseeing both high-profile failures and major
milestones during the most ambitious rail expansion agenda in the
performance as chief executive has been under confidential review by
the Metro board of directors for more than six months, and a majority of
board members were ready to let his contract expire in April, according
to sources familiar with the negotiations. But in an interview with The
Times, Leahy, 65, said leaving Metro was his choice.
oversaw the ribbon-cuttings for the first projects funded by Measure R,
the half-cent sales tax increase that county voters approved in 2008.
$35 billion that tax will raise sparked a $14-billion slate of
construction projects, the largest in Metro's history and the biggest of
any local transit agency in the United States. Metro currently has five
rail lines in various stages of construction that stretch from Santa
Monica to Azusa. When open, the new lines will more than double the
length of the network.
"We've achieved a lot in a period of frugality," Leahy told The Times. "I'm very happy about that."
Leahy also drew sharp criticism for the years-long 405 Freeway widening
project, which required hundreds of millions more dollars and an extra
year to complete.
In a letter submitted
to Metro board chairman and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and
obtained by The Times, Leahy said it was "a distinct privilege" to serve
as chief executive.
a statement, Garcetti said "millions of people will get to work and
home to their loved ones faster because of his stewardship" and
applauded Leahy's ability to bring federal funding to Los Angeles.
his watch Metro buses are more accessible, more punctual, and cleaner,"
Garcetti said. "Art Leahy’s impact on Southern California will be felt
Leahy grew up in Highland Park and began his
transit career as a bus driver for the Southern California Rapid Transit
District in 1971.
"Los Angeles County owes a debt of gratitude to
Art Leahy," said Gary Toebben, president and chief executive of the Los
Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, in a prepared statement. "He was
exactly the right person to lead the cavalry charge after voters passed
Measure R in 2008."