Search committee recommends Peter M. Rogoff to Board for new Sound Transit CEO

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Rogoff served as the nation’s top public transportation official before promotion to USDOT Under Secretary for Policy

The Sound Transit CEO Search Committee today recommended Peter M. Rogoff, the federal government’s third-highest transportation official and former Federal Transit Administrator, as its top candidate to serve as Sound Transit’s new leader. The recommendation will be considered by the full Sound Transit Board at its meeting tomorrow. 

“In a competitive field of applicants, Peter Rogoff is the committee’s clear and unanimous recommendation to lead our region in meeting the growing demand for rail and bus service,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Tomorrow the full Sound Transit Board will discuss his considerable qualifications.”

In July 2014 the United States Senate confirmed Peter M. Rogoff to the position of Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy in the U.S. Department of Transportation, the department’s third highest ranking official. Previously, in May of 2009 the Senate confirmed Rogoff as the President’s Federal Transit Administrator.

As Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, Rogoff provides leadership in the development of policies for the department, generating proposals and guidance regarding legislative, regulatory and safety initiatives. His work spans all transportation modes, including aviation, highway, rail, transit and maritime transportation.  As the nation’s chief public transit official, Rogoff negotiated and signed a record number of full funding grant agreements with transit agencies across the nation to expand rail and bus rapid transit infrastructure.  

Prior to his FTA appointment, Rogoff served for 22 years on the staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee, including 14 years as the Democratic Staff Director of the Transportation Subcommittee, led by Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Senator Patty Murray of Washington. 

In addition to Constantine, other members of the CEO Search Committee include Board members Fred Butler, mayor of Issaquah; Dave Earling, mayor of Edmonds; Joe McDermott of the King County Council; Ed Murray, mayor of Seattle; and Marilyn Strickland, mayor of Tacoma. The committee also includes current Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl. The Board created the committee in response to Earl’s announcement last May that she will retire in the first quarter of 2016 after Sound Transit opens the University Link light rail extension. Earl, who has been on medical leave since April 2014, will facilitate the transition to a new CEO.

Deputy CEO Mike Harbour, who did not apply for the CEO position, will continue to serve as the agency’s Acting CEO during the transition to a new leader.

Over the past two months the committee has conducted a national search for a new CEO.  Out of more than 190 applicants, an executive search firm narrowed the candidate pool to 13 finalists based on qualifications identified by the committee. Yesterday the committee unanimously voted to interview one candidate from the pool in executive session. To attract a large pool of highly qualified candidates, the committee assured the applicants of confidentiality during the process leading up to identifying a recommended candidate.  

At its meeting tomorrow the full Board may accept the committee’s recommendation or continue the search process. Rogoff will be present at the meeting. The Sound Transit Board will meet in executive session, initially with Rogoff and then with Board members only. It will move back into open session to discuss next steps. The meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St., Seattle. The CEO search is the last item on the agenda.

Early next year Sound Transit will open the University Link light rail extension more than six months early and approximately $150 million under budget. In the next eight years Sound Transit remains on track to complete more than 30 additional miles of light rail extensions. With transit demand and the region’s population growing fast, the Sound Transit Board is working to shape a Sound Transit 3 ballot measure for voter consideration in November 2016 to further extend light rail and other regional transit investments.