Los Angeles County transportation officials on Thursday chose the leader of Denver’s transit agency to guide the Metropolitan Transportation Authority through the next phase of a multibillion-dollar expansion of its rail system and efforts to eliminate projected budget shortfalls in coming years. In a 11 to 0 vote, with two members absent, Metro’s board of directors approved hiring Phillip Washington, who has spent 16 years with Denver’s Regional Transportation District, including six years as general manager. Washington replaces Art Leahy, who announced in January he would step down after six years as Metro’s chief executive. “We can further transform this county and this region through transportation infrastructure investment, and that is what I look forward to doing,” Washington said at a press conference Thursday outside Metro headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. “I am really happy to be here, and honored that you are bestowing this great responsibility on me.” Washington comes to Metro at a crucial time for the agency, which is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar rail-building boom that has the potential to reshape the face of commuting habits, development and density levels in traffic-choked Los Angeles. Nearly a decade after voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase for transportation improvements, Metro is simultaneously building five rail lines and is in the early stages of drafting another proposed levy that could fund a dozen more projects.Washington said he will prioritize a “clean, efficient, reliable, accessible and cost-effective service” for riders, and be “laser-focused” on delivering projects on time and on budget, including the Crenshaw Line, the Downtown Regional Connector and the Purple Line extension under Wilshire Boulevard.”He is here to bring this county together, to make it more mobile for our goods and our people,” said John Fasana, a Metro board member and a councilman from Duarte. “We are extremely excited to have him here. He’ll be a great leader for the riding public.” Washington will supervise a fleet of more than 2,200 buses and 300 trains, which cover more than 1,400 miles of Los Angeles County.”Here in the car capital of the world, we are changing things,” said Los Angeles … – Click Here To Visit Article Source