Denver's RTD Leader to Take Over Reins of L.A. Transit System
Phillip A. Washington, general manager of Denver’s Regional Transportation District since 2009, will leave the agency to become CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the third-largest public transit system in the U.S.
Washington, a 2014 ENR Newsmaker (ENR, 1/27/14), garnered national attention for managing RTD’s $5.3-billion FasTracks transit construction program, which is building 122 miles of new commuter rail lines and dozens of stations across the Denver metro area.
He led the launch of the agency’s first public-private partnership, the $2.2-billion Eagle P3 project, which is building a rail line from downtown to Denver International Airport, among other routes. The new line will open in early 2016.
Washington also was instrumental in creating the Workforce Initiative Now program, which has helped some 400 disadvantaged residents in the past two years to get training on RTD projects in their communities. Other agencies nationwide have since adopted the RTD model.
But Washington also has had his critics. Under his watch, RTD has been criticized for not delivering on all the promises of the FasTracks program, including funding setbacks for a planned light rail line between Denver and Boulder that may not be built for decades.
Washington declined to comment about his decision to take the new job in Los Angeles but said in his resignation letter to the RTD board: “The greatest impact that one can have on any enterprise is to continue to see the results of their involvement long after they have left.”
RTD has not said when his last day with the agency will be.