Monday, January 15, 2007

RTA Governance: Examples from Other Areas

Previous posts have examined the issue of RTA governance, a subject about which the RTA and the Moving Beyond Congestion proponents are silent. As shown in these previous posts, the Chairman of the CTA plus the Mayor of Chicago's four appointees form a bloc that currently has veto power over major RTA decisions. Suburban Cook County appoints four board members and the the collar counties (Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, Will) get three board members. (These 12 board members then select a Chairman.) However, a long overdue statutorily-required reapportionment of the 12 RTA board seats among the City of Chicago, suburban Cook County and the collar counties according to the 2000 census will result in Chicago losing a board seat and this veto power.

How do other regions with multi-jurisdictional and mult-modal transit services handle appointments to their governing boards? There are a variety of approaches, although only one other agency on this sample list (DART) appears to have the same sort of allocation of board members on the basis of population as does the RTA. Likewise, only one agency (Denver RTD) has a board elected by popular vote.

Many of the boards on the sample list have some form of state involvement, something that is missing from the RTA board. In some cases (e.g., MBTA) the governor appoints the board members. In others (e.g., MARTA) state officials sit on the board. Here's the sample list:

New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority ("MTA")
: The MTA is governed by a 17-member board. Members are nominated by the Governor, with four recommended by New York City's mayor and one each by the county executives of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, and Putnam counties. (Members representing the latter four cast one collective vote.) The board also has six rotating non-voting seats, three held by representatives of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee (PCAC), which serves as a voice for users of MTA transit and commuter facilities, and three held by representatives of organized labor. All board members are confirmed by the New York State Senate.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Public Transportation Authority (SEPTA):
SEPTA is governed by a 15-member board. The City of Philadelphia appoints two members; one of whom is appointed by the Mayor, the other is appointed by the President of the Philadelphia City Council. The representatives from Philadelphia have the ability to veto any item that comes before the full board due to a formula based on population and ridership that only applies to the City of Philadelphia; the veto is subject to an override vote by the full board within 30 days after the veto is applied. Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County appoint two members each. These members are appointed by the County Commissioners in Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery County and by the County Council in Delaware County. The majority and minority leaders of the two houses of the Pennsylvania State Legislature (the Senate and the House of Representatives) appoints one member each, for a total of four members. The Governor of Pennsylvania appoints one member.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA): MBTA is governed by a 9-member board. The State's Secretary of Transportation is Chairman. The other 8 directors are appointed by the Governor.

Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transportation Authority (MARTA): MARTA is governed by an 18-member board. Four members represent the City of Atlanta. Five members represent DeKalb County, where Atlanta is located. Three members represent Fulton County. One member represents Clayton County. One member represents Gwinnett County. Four ex officio members are the heads of public agencies: George State Properties Commission, Georgia Department of Revenue, Georgia Department of Transportation, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority.

Washington (D.C.) Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA):
WMATA is governed by a 12-member board. Of these 12, six are voting members, and six are alternates. Virginia, Maryland, and the District each appoint two voting members and two alternate members. The position of board chairman rotates between the three jurisdictions.

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro):
Metro is governed by a 13-member board. The board is comprised of: (i) the five Los Angeles County Supervisors; (ii) The Mayor of Los Angeles; (iii) three Los Angeles mayor-appointed members; and (iv) four city council members representing the other 87 cities in Los Angeles County. The Governor of California appoints one non-voting member.

Tri-County (Portland) Regional Transportation District (Tri-Met):
TriMet is governed by a 7-member Board of directors. They are appointed by the Governor and represent and must live in certain geographical districts.

Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD):
RTD is governed by a 15-member, publicly-elected Board of Directors. Directors are elected for a four-year term; with elections staggered so that eight seats are open in one general election, seven in the next.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART):
DART is governed by a 15-member board. Board members are allocated among the 13 cities that make up DART on the basis of each jurisdiction's population to the total population of the service area. Currently, 8 of the board members are from Dallas.

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