Nashville MTA hires ex-Pittsburgh agency head as CEO

Posted on July 17, 2014

The Nashville MTA Board of Directors on Wednesday, hired career public transit veteran, Stephen G. Bland to become the new CEO of the transit authority, effective August 25.

Bland said he is ready to take on building more public support for the city’s proposed $174 million bus rapid transit line, the Amp, The Tennessean reported.

Bland, the former CEO of Pittsburgh's Port Authority of Allegheny County, has held senior management roles in several agencies of various sizes.

RELATED: Former Pittsburgh agency chief in talks to head Nashville MTA

He replaces Paul J. Ballard, who is now heading up the Fort Worth Transportation Authority as president and CEO.

During his seven-year tenure in Pittsburgh, Bland led the multi-modal system with 1,000-plus vehicles, an annual operating budget of $350 million, an average capital budget of $140 million and 66 million annual passenger trips. Under his leadership, his transit team completed a $500 million New Starts Light Rail subway extension.  

Additionally, during the development of the Connect '09 Transit Development Plan, the team engaged thousands of transit riders and community residents in an interactive process. Ultimately, this process led to the most comprehensive redesign of transit service in Pittsburgh's history.

Bland also is credited for immediately recognizing the importance of multi-modal travel and integrating bicycling into the city’s transit system.  Within a two-year period, bike racks were installed on the entire fleet of buses and fold-up bikes were permitted in all rail cars. According to local cyclists Bland’s actions introduced a new era for bicycling and transit in the city.

Currently employed at Michael Baker International, Bland is serving as the program director of CTfastrak, a 9.5-mile advanced bus rapid transit system between New Britain and Downtown Hartford, Conn.

Prior to the CTfastrak assignment, he was the assistant director/general superintendent of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s PATH Rail System.

In addition to his extensive transit background, Bland has a Master of Public Affairs in Public Finance, and a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs, with Distinction in Transportation Planning and Management from Indiana University. Over the years, he has participated in numerous continuing education courses and seminars, and developed a successful track record while working at transit systems in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Texas.  

"I appreciate the board’s confidence in me and am looking forward to working with each member, Mayor Karl Dean, the Metro Council, transit riders, other community stakeholders, and the transit employees,” Bland said. “Together, we will make Nashville’s transit system an even greater one as we continue building upon the significant accomplishments that have been made over the past 12 years.  My family and I are truly looking forward to living and working in Music City.”

Bland is currently living in Wexford, PA with his wife and son.


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