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White celebrates seven years as WMATA's head

On Aug. 12, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Chief Executive Officer Richard White marked his seventh anniversary as the agency’s leader.

During his tenure, White has lead the agency through many accomplishments.

Between 1996 and 2003, Metrorail ridership has increased 24 percent and Metrobus, 25 percent. The ridership increases are due in part to several customer-service initiatives implemented during the past few years, including WMATA’s Smart Cards and Ride Guide trip planner, White says.

In 2001, WMATA completed the final segment of its 103-mile system, 10 months ahead of schedule and $286 million under budget. The $9.5 billion, 30-year project was one of the largest in U.S. transit agency history, White says. The agency has started building an extension to Maryland and an in-fill station in Washington, D.C., and plans soon to begin an extension to Dulles Airport.

In the future, White plans to focus on maintaining and expanding the system, and overcoming an anticipated $50 million budget shortfall in fiscal year 2005. WMATA officials plan to lobby for additional local and federal funding.

"There are some critical decisions people will have to make that will have a big impact on the future of the agency," White says. "All things go in cycles, and we have to keep the organization energized. We have to be as motivated by challenges as we are from the fruits of success."

If White completes his contract, which runs through 2009, he will acheive the longest tenure of a WMATA CEO.

Angela Claypool

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/13/2003