By Robert Haugh
Last week, the Biden Administration announced a new team to take over the Department of Transportation.
On the list was Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) General Manager/CEO Nuria Fernandez. She’ll be the Deputy Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration. According to sources, she’ll be elevated to Administrator at a later date.
Prior to arriving at VTA seven years ago, Fernandez was in leadership positions at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Chicago Transit Authority and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
But even with all that experience, Fernandez managed one of the worst transportation agencies in the nation.
VTA announced a national search for Fernandez’s successor.
On the list of possible targets to manage VTA are the following people according to VTA and local government sources:
Interim VTA General Manager/CEO Evelynn Tran. She was appointed to run the agency last week. She was the VTA General Counsel.
Jacksonville Transportation Authority CEO Nathan Ford, Sr. He once ran San Francisco Muni and was American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Outstanding Public Transportation Manager for 2020.
Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. He manages the Seattle metropolitan transportation system. It was recently ranked as the best overall transit system in the nation. Rogoff is a former FTA Administrator.
Bloom Energy Executive Vice President of Global Government Affairs and Policy Carl Guardino. He used to run the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and led sales tax measures to fund VTA. He’s San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo’s close friend and would be a major champion for San Jose transportation priorities. Sources say he’s bored in the private sector.
Everyone on this list is a highly qualifed transportation professional with years of operational experience with the exception of Guardino. He and his wife have been making money off VTA for years. It looks like they want to come back to the trough. It would be a shame if the VTA board let that happen.
Save the scouting money.Santa Clara has its candidate who is a big champion of transportation. Teresa O’Neill.
The liberal way. Promote incompetent people to pay back political favors rather than the best and brightest. Now VTA can share worst practices with the rest of the country. Net loss.