Joe Calabrese, CEO/GM of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA), has been named one of nine of Governing Magazine’s “Public Officials of the Year.”
The Public Officials of the Year program is in its 24th year and honors the most outstanding leaders in state and local government who exemplify the ideals of public service.
“Thanks to his efforts, Cleveland today has the best bus rapid transit system in the country,” writes the magazine in its December issue. “Since it first opened eight years ago, the city’s first BRT (the HealthLine) has spurred $6 billion in economic development along its nine-mile route.”
In nominating Calabrese, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown said, “Joe Calabrese has become one of the most credible voices in the public transportation industry. That’s why his expertise has been called upon at every level, including Congressional hearings, as he encourages national energy security, promotes environmental initiatives, and advocates for increases in transit funding. We would be wise to heed his advice.”
Joe Roman, president/CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, said, "Calabrese is one of the first transit leaders in the country to work toward forging public/private partnerships. Under his leadership, RTA has become an integral player in Cleveland’s success in the city’s recent development boom and its resurgence to national prominence, as well as its travel and tourism industry."
Roman, head of one of the largest metro chambers of commerce in the country, notes that the connections provided by the HealthLine have been transformative.
“We now have a vital link between our central business district and University Circle, which is home to our city’s leading health-care and cultural institutions, as well as a major university campus,” said Roman. “This also has helped attract millions of dollars of private development and improvements along its route through the heart of our city.”
Also honored were California Gov. Jerry Brown, New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu and Kentucky State Senate President Robert Stivers.
Earlier this year, Joe Calabrese earned Smart Business Magazine’s “Smart 50” Award in recognition of his ability and talent to effectively build and lead innovative and “smart” organizations. He was also named one of public transportation’s “Most Influential People of the Decade” in December, 2014, by Metro Magazine.