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A 10-month search for a new leader of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) concluded yesterday when the agency's board appointed Nuria Fernandez general manager.Fernandez has more than 30 years of experience in public transportation, most recently as chief operating officer of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York City. At MTA, she was responsible for security, development of capital and environmental programs, federal and state government affairs, and oversight of five operating agencies and capital construction, VTA officials said in a press release.Fernandez succeeds Michael Burns, who plans to retire by year's end. She will assume her new duties in early December.VTA Chairman Joe Pirzynski described Fernandez as "an individual who possesses the personal and professional characteristics that we know will move VTA forward."Fernandez's professional experience includes planning, design and construction of mass transit systems, airport operations and policy development of federal transportation programs.She will join the VTA at a time of growth and expansion, as the agency advances its capital program and transit service to meet growing ridership, agency officials said. Construction of the first 10-mile phase of the BART Silicon Valley project is moving forward, and plans are under way to speed up light-rail trains and improve frequency in preparation for BART and the new Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, they said.
Fernandez serves on the American Public Transportation Association's board, the Mineta Transportation Institute's board, the Advisory Board of Bradley University's College of Engineering and Technology, and is a member of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials and the Women's Transportation Seminar.