Sound Transit Board selects former Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff as new CEO

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Joni Earl to be succeeded by the United States Department of Transportation’s Under Secretary for Policy

The Sound Transit Board today unanimously selected former Federal Transit Administrator Peter M. Rogoff as the agency’s new CEO.

“Peter Rogoff will bring the experience this region needs to expand rail and bus service for our fast-growing cities,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Mobility is our linchpin for a prosperous and sustainable future. Today, we welcome one of America’s most seasoned transportation leaders.”

In July 2014 the United States Senate confirmed Rogoff as 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 President Obama’s Federal Transit Administrator.

“Sound Transit has earned the public’s trust and a nationwide reputation for it success delivering transit infrastructure for the people of Puget Sound,” Rogoff said. “As its new CEO, I am excited and determined to expand on that legacy as we build projects and expand service in all three counties.” 

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.

Video of Rogoff’s remarks following the Board’s vote to appoint him are available for news media use. Photos are available upon request. Rogoff’s detailed biographical summary is available on Sound Transit’s website. Rogoff will start in January following Board confirmation of contract details in December.

Current Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl, who has been on medical leave, will retire in March 2016 following the opening of the University Link light rail line. Deputy CEO Mike Harbour, who did not apply for the CEO position, will continue to serve as the agency’s Acting CEO until Rogoff’s arrival.

While the agency works to complete current voter-approved projects, Rogoff will lead the staff’s work to support the work of the Sound Transit Board in shaping a major Sound Transit 3 package of further regional transit expansions, planned for voter consideration in November 2016.

“Peter Rogoff’s resume quickly rose to the top of the more than 190 resumes Sound Transit received,’ said Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, who served on the Board’s CEO Search Committee. “His interest in coming to our region says something about the caliber of the agency Joni Earl and our staff have built. We are thrilled to have secured such a strong successor of Joni to lead the further expansion of rail and bus services.”

“Our region must complete a truly regional light rail system if we want to keep commuters moving, attract and retain great companies and protect our planet,” said Sound Transit Board Vice Chair and Everett City Council Member Paul Roberts. “Peter Rogoff’s selection ensures the continuing high caliber of executive leadership that will get us there.” 

Board members praised Earl’s accomplishments at today’s meeting. Since arriving at Sound Transit 15 years ago, Earl has successfully led the agency forward from the 2000-2002 near collapse of plans to build a regional mass transit system. Today, Sound Transit is on track to open more than 30 additional miles of voter-approved light rail extensions by 2023, establishing a 50-mile regional system. Earl’s retirement early next year will coincide with the under-budget and ahead-of-schedule opening of the University Link light rail extension that she took back to the drawing board in 2001. “I am proud of the many accomplishments our outstanding staff racked up during the 15 years that I’ve led this agency,” Earl said. “Peter Rogoff’s extensive experience will support an ongoing track record of wins for the region’s commuters and taxpayers. I am very happy the Board selected him.”