VTA to appoint new Managing Director and CEO

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority set to approve a new CEO and CEO after losing its last leader to the administration of President Joe Biden in January.

Carolyn Gonot is the latest candidate to lead 2,100 employees to operate buses, light rail and paratransit services for more than 2 million passengers. She spent over 20 years working for VTA before becoming Executive Director of the Utah Transit Authority in 2019.

If the green light is given in a special meeting fridayThe first day of Gonot’s five-year contract – with a base salary of $ 350,000 and a monthly car allowance of $ 500 – begins July 12.

Carolyn Gonot (Photo courtesy of the Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority.)

His decades of experience in transit operations can prove vital at a time when VTA has a long way to go: massive development is still planned for the Diridon Station in downtown San Jose and commuters are grappling with it. with lingering issues of service and equitable funding as health issues persist. linger after the Covid-19 pandemic.

That’s why VTA’s Chairman of the Board, Glenn Hendricks, says he is “delighted” with the staff recommendation to appoint Gonot.

“Carolyn has a proven track record of delivering large capital projects and programs and putting in place critical funding mechanisms to build and sustain them,” Hendricks said in a statement Wednesday. “His leadership will be essential to improving the overall public transit experience for current and future riders, as public transit recovers from unprecedented challenges.

Gonot would replace former chief executive and CEO Nuria Fernandez, who was appointed by President Joe Biden to the U.S. Department of Transportation in January, after seven years at VTA. Evelynn Tran, the Authority’s Advocate General, has temporarily held the post since then.

Prior to Gonot’s two-year stint as head of the Utah Transit Authority, she spent 23 years working for VTA, where she managed programs including the BART extension from Silicon Valley to Santa Clara County. and the congestion management division.

As executive director of the Utah Transit Authority, Gonot oversees 2,500 employees in operations in six counties, including three light rail lines, a commuter train, streetcars, paratransit, vans and more than 120 routes. of buses, powered by a combined operation of $ 591 million. and capital budgets.

Monica Mallon, a staunch advocate for transit in the South Bay, said she believes Gonot’s vast experience will get her to work.

“I really hope she works with the board, staff and the community to create a vision for the future of transit that we’re all passionate about,” Mallon told San Jose Inside. “I don’t necessarily think she will be a leader who massively disrupts the status quo, but I do think she will continue to push things forward.

Gonot received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters in Civil Engineering from Penn State University.

She and another anonymous finalist were selected after nationwide research by Krauthamer & Associates Inc., which then presented their top picks to VTA’s Research Committee, made up of Chairman of the Board Glenn Hendricks. , Vice President Chappie Jones, Board Member Cindy Chavez and Former Official Board Member Margaret Abe-Koga.

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