METRO Publisher Frank Di Giacomo was among the outstanding individuals and organizations recognized at the American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) Awards Breakfast at the 2002 meeting in Las Vegas.
Di Giacomo was named Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member for his contributions to the industry. The award recognizes a member of transit's business community who has made significant contributions and shown extraordinary commitment to the industry.
Di Giacomo has been with METRO for more than 20 years and has been publisher since 1992. He's also been an active member of APTA's Business Member Board of Governors, serving on the history, bylaws, outreach, meetings and marketing/communications committees. In addition, he is the associate publisher of Business in Motion, the official newsletter of APTA's Business Members.
Emceed by Linda Watson, chair of APTA's awards committee, the program also honored several other strong supporters of the industry.
Entering the Hall of Fame was James L. Lammie. As CEO of Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc., he served on the boards of control for many projects, including the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Red Line and Blue Line and Bay Area Rapid Transit's extensions program.
Lawrence G. Reuter, president of MTA New York City Transit, was recognized as the Outstanding Public Transportation System Manager. During his tenure, he has helped to meet customers' needs for more and better service during a period of historic ridership growth.
H. Welton Flynn, chairman of the board of the directors of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, was named Outstanding Transit Board Member. He has served the longest term of any commissioner or board member in San Francisco and is known for his dedication to providing opportunities for minorities and women at the San Francisco Municipal Railway.
Distinguished service awards were given to Sen. Robert F. Bennett of Utah and Rep. Robert A. Borski of Pennsylvania. Bennett was instrumental in the development of the Utah Transit Authority's light rail system. Borski worked to address a broad range of transportation needs in the Philadelphia region.
Jeff Morales, director of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), received the State Distinguished Service award for helping to shift Caltrans' focus from building and maintaining highways to overseeing the spectrum of the state's transportation system.
Innovation awards went to the Illinois Department of Transportation's (IDOT) division of public transportation and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Working with the Springfield and Rockford transit districts, the IDOT division has put online the first two in a series of regional maintenance centers to serve all transit agencies in the state. Meanwhile, the CTA physically moved the historic Homan Avenue Station to the Conservatory Central Park Green Line Station, preserving its historic character.
River Valley Metro in Kankakee, Ill., was named Outstanding Public Transportation System (providing fewer than 1 million passenger trips annually) for its dedication to safety and customer service. Ridership was up by more than 40% in 2001.
Santa Clarita Transit in southern California was recognized as the outstanding system providing more than 1 million and fewer than 4 million trips annually. Santa Clarita Transit offers a wide variety of services, including reverse commute services from Los Angeles and online pass sales that supplement an array of community pass sales locations.
Utah Transit Authority in Salt Lake City, Utah, was named outstanding system with more than 4 million trips and fewer than 30 million trips annually. The authority opened two light rail lines one year ahead of schedule and under budget.
The Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) in Jersey City, N.J., captured the award for outstanding system providing more than 30 million trips annually. PATH employees demonstrated tremendous bravery and loyalty in extremely difficult circumstances on September 11, 2001.