Getting to know the Next Director of JTA

October 9, 2012 76 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

With three finalist in position to replace Michael Blaylock as the executive director of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, Metro Jacksonville looks into the transportation background of Steve Bland, Nathaniel P. Ford, and Frank T. Martin.

Frank T. Martin

Frank T. Martin is currently employed as the Senior Vice President, Transportation, Sales and Strategy for Atkins North America in Orlando, FL.  Martin has been with Atkins since 2004.

From 1987 to 1999, Martin served as the Assistant Director of Rail Services for Miami Dade Transit. The Miami Metromover opened a year prior to Martin taking the rail services position with Miami-Dade Transit.  However, in 1994, two Metromover extensions were completed, completing the 4.4 mile downtown system.  Since then, the system has become a catalyst for downtown development in Miami.  The 1990s, would also see preliminary engineering for Metrorail's extension to the Palmetto Expressway begin, culminating with the opening of Palmetto Station in May 2003. In 1997, the original 6.5 mile segment of the South Miami-Dade Busway opened.  

In 1999, Martin left Miami-Dade to become the Chief Operating Officer for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in San Jose, CA. The VTA is a special-purpose district responsible for public transit services, congestion management, specific highway improvement projects, and countywide transportation planning for Santa Clara County, California. It is one of the governing parties for the Caltrain commuter rail line that serves the county. In this capacity he was responsible for more than 2,400 employees for this multi-modal planning and transportation agency.

A year after Martin joined VTA, voters approved a 30 year extension of the 1996 sales tax to fund an extension of Bay Area Rapid Transit to Santa Clara, which was fiercly advocated by San Jose mayor Ron Gonzales. 2000 Measure A also included funding for light rail extensions, bus expansion, and expansion and electrification of Caltrain service to San Jose International Airport.  However, concerned with VTA's ability to operate BART, the Federal Transit Administration issued a "Not Recommended" rating to VTA's expansion plans in January 2004.

In addition, after the dot-com bust in 2000, VTA's revenue sources declined, resulting in cuts to service and increased fares.  Between 1998 and 2005, base fares have increased 59%, monthly passes by 86%, and day passes by 139%.  In addition, VTA's farebox recovery is approximately 12%, which is far below the national average.  

However, during this time period VTA successfully expanded their light rail system to I-880/Milpitas in 2001 and to Hostetter station in 2004 as part of the Tasman East extension. In the same year, the Capitol extension to Alum Rock station was also finished. The latest section, the Vasona extension, was completed in 2005, connecting Campbell to Downtown San Jose.

In 2004, after five years in San Jose, Martin left California to head back to Florida to accept a position with transportation consulting firm, PBS&J as the firm's Director of National Transit. Since then, PBS&J has become Atkins North America.

With Atkins, Martin was originally responsible for developing the strategic vision and managing the corporation’s transit and rail business sector in North America. Today, that position is held by Jon McDonald while Martin is now over sales and strategy. In addition, he currently serves on several national transportation boards including the American Public Transportation Association's Business Members Board of Governors (BMBG).

Martin spent 12 years as the Assistant Director of Rail Services for Miami-Dade Transit.


Who do you think is ready to take on JTA and Jacksonville?

Article by Ennis Davis

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