Big Expectations For KCATA New CEO
Posted by Transit Action Network on February 18, 2015
Joe Reardon, a lawyer with McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips and former Mayor of Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, was named the new CEO and President of the Kansas City Transportation Authority (KCATA) this afternoon. This position is new and reflects KCATA’s restructuring efforts and its goal to function as the transit authority for the whole region, as it was originally intended. Reardon will have a big impact on the future of KC regional transit.
Reardon has extensive governmental experience and a reputation for getting things done, as noted in the bulletin released by KCATA. Several of his significant achievements revolve around transit, such as introducing Sunday service in KCK and getting a federal TIGER grant to help build the first major transit center in KCK.
He feels he can truly make KCATA a regional entity. He wants to start by listening. He wants to understand the system as it exits today, and listen to the region as a whole and people’s vision to enhance transit, including integrating transit and trails.
A strong supporter for much-needed regional cooperation, Reardon actually teaches an MBA class at Rockhurst University on regionalism. Sounds like he is on the right track.
The previous top KCATA position, General Manager, focused on internal operations, but this new position is focused externally. KCATA has very good people in place internally to handle the everyday workings of the agency, so the CEO can engage the community and public leaders to move transit forward.
Reardon said that safety of both rides and drivers is his first concern and KCATA is continuing to take steps to improve safety.
For KCATA to fully realize its goal we see two items that need to be achieved by Reardon.
1. All public transit services need to come under the KCATA management/operation umbrella. Reardon said he would be working on this initiative. Efforts to achieve this goal already started when Johnson County recently returned to KCATA for transit management services. We want to see all Unified Government/KCK and Independence public transit and special transportation services return to KCATA. Reardon feels that further integrating the region is critical and one of his key missions.
2. Increase funding to expand and improve transit service. Reardon said he knows this is a critical issue and something not easily addressed but something we need to spend time and effort on. He feels it speaks to forming the right partnerships and relationships to ensure that revenue sources that are there today continue to be there, find the opportunities where we all agree the system could be better and then look to ways to enhance that.
Transit Action Network believes that succeeding in these two categories is necessary to create a KC regional transit system that is capable of getting people to significantly more than 18% of the jobs in the region in under 90 minutes, which is our current situation.
Ridership is increasing and KCATA had $15.9 million trips in 2014. Reardon wants to hear from riders about how KCATA can improve the system, what is good about the system, and if KCATA is answering their needs.
We look forward to working with Mr. Reardon.