Author Topic: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA  (Read 16193 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« on: October 09, 2012, 03:02:25 AM »
Getting to know the Next Director of JTA



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.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2012-oct-getting-to-know-the-next-director-of-jta

strider

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2012, 08:17:31 AM »
Based on a quick read through and the limited info available, I would think Mr. Nathaniel Ford would be the best for the future of transportation in Jacksonville.  I would bet, however, that Mr. Steve Bland is on the top of JTA's list.


 
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jcjohnpaint

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2012, 09:08:11 AM »
Yeah I too think Ford would be the best of the three, but personally they all seem blah

thelakelander

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2012, 09:10:19 AM »
^What type of person or professional background do you wish the next director to have?
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comncense

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2012, 09:21:53 AM »
I'd definitely like to see someone who's going to push rail over an expansion of BRT.

TomHurst

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2012, 09:31:26 AM »
I'm guessing they're leaning toward Mr. Bland based on his BRT background.  I also have to wonder about Mr. Ford.  It seems as if Jax would be a step down after years of running transit systems in Atlanta and San Francisco.  Maybe I'm a cynic but it wouldn't surprise me if there's more back story to his history that we don't know about (other than the credit card issues mentioned in the story). 

thelakelander

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2012, 09:38:55 AM »
I'd definitely like to see someone who's going to push rail over an expansion of BRT.

If rail is your thing, Ford probably has the best background overseeing a public agency with multiple types of rail transit in operation.  Since 1992, he's had roles with BART, MARTA, and Muni plus he started off as a train conductor for BART. While over Muni, its transit operations included bus, trolley buses, light rail, subway (Muni Metro), cable cars, and a heritage streetcar line.  Muni also shares four metro stations with BART.

Bland is probably your BRT guy.  While Pittsburgh already had LRT and BRT when Bland joined, Bland has been in the forefront of recent BRT projects in Albany, NY and Pittsburgh over the last decade.

Since Martin hasn't worked for a public transit agency in eight years, it was a little difficult to dig into his background.  Nevertheless, the one agency he was over in San Jose, does have LRT and he worked with Miami-Dade's rail operations during their early years.
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thelakelander

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2012, 09:45:47 AM »
I'm guessing they're leaning toward Mr. Bland based on his BRT background.

If Bland wins, I hope he loses the BRT is like rail, but with buses thing.  We've been there, done that, here in Jacksonville.  There's nothing wrong with BRT but let's not sell it as an equal replacement for rail.  Instead they should complement each other.

Quote
I also have to wonder about Mr. Ford.  It seems as if Jax would be a step down after years of running transit systems in Atlanta and San Francisco.  Maybe I'm a cynic but it wouldn't surprise me if there's more back story to his history that we don't know about (other than the credit card issues mentioned in the story).

Here is a look into Ford's decision to leave Muni last year.

Quote
Nat Ford, the embattled executive director of Muni, will be stepping down from his post at the end of the month.

The decision for Ford to leave the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees Muni, was a mutually-agreed upon departure between him and the agency’s board of directors, said Tom Nolan, the board chair.

Ford, who earns $308,000 a year, recently signed a two-year contract extension with the agency. Under the terms of his exit, he will be paid $375,000, plus three months of health insurance coverage, which will bring his total departure package to $384,000, Nolan said.

Job speculation has swirled for months concerning the future of Ford, who has been rumored as the lead candidate at a number of agency openings in the past, including a prominent position at a Washington, D.C., airport authority. His persistent job hedging had some transit advocates calling for his ouster by the agency’s board of directors.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2011/06/muni-chief-nat-ford-quit-next-month-sources-say#ixzz28oEctQv0

http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2011/06/muni-chief-nat-ford-quit-next-month-sources-say

http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2011/06/muni-deputy-chief-carter-rohan-resigns-list-replace-nat-ford-shrinks
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CityLife

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2012, 10:00:07 AM »
The fact that the Muni board would buy him out of his contract and pay him $375k to not work there anymore, is troubling. Though going from Muni to JTA would be like the Suns getting Clayton Kershaw back (Going from the big leagues to Double A), so maybe he would be worth the risk.

simms3

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2012, 10:35:43 AM »
Ford does have a lot of experience with heavy rail and LRT, but having researched Muni for personal reasons (possible move) it has a horrible reputation now and nobody seems to have anything nice to say about it (reliability issues, etc).  Not sure if it's at all attributable to Ford.

Also, Ford and Beverly Scott may have been great for MARTA (and Beverly is now going up to head MBTA in Boston), but MARTA has lost a lot of its reputation under their (and Ford's 2nd) watch.  Recent audits reveal insane cost overruns, employee absenteeism costing additional $11MM/year, a depletion of the operating working capital account by 2018 (used to cover operating losses), $7.1B in capital deficiencies through 2021, and a complete loss of faith from the state Legislature.  Base fare has gone from $2 to $2.50.  Headways have lengthened and service cut back.  Bus routes pared back or eliminated.  And worst of all, under Ford's watch MARTA's reputation has deteriorated, making it more difficult to crawl out of the hole it is in.

Good luck in your decision.  All these agencies trade people routinely anyway, and only some of them seem to be decent (actually usually the smaller systems pushing for LRT/streetcars seem to be headed by the better candidates, not these larger big city HRT/bus guys).
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simms3

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2012, 10:36:45 AM »
Ford does have a lot of experience with heavy rail and LRT, but having researched Muni for personal reasons (possible move) it has a horrible reputation now and nobody seems to have anything nice to say about it (reliability issues, etc).  Not sure if it's at all attributable to Ford.

Also, Ford and Beverly Scott may have been great for MARTA (and Beverly is now going up to head MBTA in Boston), but MARTA has lost a lot of its reputation under their (and Ford's 2nd) watch.  Recent audits reveal insane cost overruns, employee absenteeism costing additional $11MM/year, a depletion of the operating working capital account by 2018 (used to cover operating losses), $7.1B in capital deficiencies through 2021, and a deteriorating view by the State and the public.  Base fare has gone from $2 to $2.50.  Headways have lengthened and service cut back.  Bus routes pared back or eliminated.  And worst of all, under Ford's watch MARTA's reputation has deteriorated, making it more difficult to crawl out of the hole it is in.

Good luck in your decision.  All these agencies trade people routinely anyway, and only some of them seem to be decent (actually usually the smaller systems pushing for LRT/streetcars seem to be headed by the better candidates, not these larger big city HRT/bus guys).
Bothering locals and trolling boards since 2005

jcjohnpaint

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2012, 11:07:19 AM »
Personally I want someone who believes in Jacksonville's transportation infrastructure future.  This would include rain and streetcar.  As I see it, Ford would be the one.  We are a city who relies too much on roads (which includes buses/ fo BRT).  Our transportation infrastructure is not diverse.  I would like to stop seeing paralleling services/ ex fo BRT running parallel to Skyway and proposed future rail.  We need to stop investing in now for the sake of the future- more foresight. 

Tacachale

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2012, 11:08:21 AM »
Seems to be some good spots on all three resumes. I'd be surprised if they picked Bland. Ford has a lot of directly relevant experience, although Martin served over what was probably the highlight of local rail growth in Miami. If we had had that here, the Skyway may not have become a rolling punchline.
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copperfiend

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2012, 11:10:10 AM »
Steve Bland would seem to be appropriately named. And he seems like the likely status quo choice for JTA.

venture

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Re: Getting to know the Next Director of JTA
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2012, 12:53:20 PM »
Thanks for sharing this info with us.