Jim Hartnett, a veteran transportation and community leader, was unanimously appointed Wednesday to head California's San Mateo County Transit District, which includes the SamTrans bus and paratransit system, the Caltrain Peninsula commuter rail service and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, which funds transit and transportation programs.
Hartnett will be the GM/CEO of the District, a job that carries with it the titles of GM/CEO of SamTrans, executive director of Caltrain and executive director of the Transportation Authority. He starts his new job on March 30.
Hartnett, a Redwood City resident, served more than a decade on both the District and the Caltrain boards of directors and has served both boards as chair. He was appointed four years ago to the California High Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors, where he served most recently as vice chair. He has resigned from that board. He served 15 years on the Redwood City City Council, including terms as mayor and vice mayor.
He replaces Michael J. Scanlon, who is retiring after a distinguished career in the transit industry, which includes running the District for more than 15 years.
“This is personal for me,” said Hartnett. “I grew up on the Peninsula. I rode the bus before there was a SamTrans. I rode the train before there was a Caltrain. I believe in what transit can do to make a better life for all of us and to preserve those things we so deeply value and treasure about living and working here. I understand the important role our bus and train systems play in maintaining our quality of life and sustaining the economic vitality of our region.”
Added Hartnett: “These three agencies are doing outstanding work and their combined talents comprise a team of well-respected employees who are working together to achieve the region’s transportation vision. I’m privileged to have the opportunity to serve at this extremely important time and I appreciate the confidence and trust that has been placed in me.”
The District serves three counties, 35 cities and millions of residents and commuters. Combined, the three agencies have budgets of more than $500 million, capital projects well in excess of $1.7 billion and engage more than 1,500 full-time, part-time and contracted employees.
Hartnett’s appointment is the result of a nationwide recruitment that took more than six months and included consideration of more than 200 applicants.