On March 30, Jim Hartnett will become General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the San Mateo County Transit District, a position that carries with it the responsibilities as General Manager/CEO of SamTrans, Executive Director of Caltrain and Executive Director of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.
His appointment to this multi-agency position touched off a wave of praise for him and his selection:
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo:
“The appointment of Jim Hartnett is good news for everyone in San Mateo County and our distinguished region. He is the right person at the right time. He is a man of integrity and purpose with broad experience in the public sector, having served as the Mayor of Redwood City. His commitment to his community and his country run deep, and he is universally respected. The future of Caltrain and our public transit system will be in trusted hands.
State Senator Jerry Hill, former member, SamTrans and Caltrain Boards of Directors, co-chaired the search committee that hired Mike Scanlon:
“This is a great choice. Jim Hartnett is ideally suited for this job at this time. I supported his appointment to the High Speed Rail Authority Board because I knew he would be a steady and thoughtful advocate for the interests of the Peninsula and Caltrain, just as he will be an eloquent and effective leader of the local and regional interests of the three transit agencies he will be heading.”
Assemblyman Rich Gordon, former member, TA Board of Directors, who has worked with Hartnett as a county supervisor, as a legislator, as a community leader and as a transit board member: “He is the right person for the right time. He is a dedicated public servant with the depth and breadth of knowledge essential for this critical position.
“The transit and transportation systems of the Peninsula and the Bay Area are a complex web of interconnected relationships -- political, financial, personal, professional, parochial and regional. They require a leader who has the background, skills and demeanor to keep those relationships healthy now and into a future that is full of promise and potential. We could not pick someone more suited for the task of overseeing a bus system that is reinventing itself, shepherding through the Caltrain Modernization program and fulfilling the promise of the transportation programs and projects of the county's Measure A.”
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee: “Caltrain plays an important role in San Francisco’s efforts to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and revitalize Mission Bay and surrounding neighborhoods. Jim has demonstrated the ability to facilitate cooperation on regional, civic and community issues through his work on the High Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors, and I look forward to working with him to improve Caltrain service and bring California High Speed Rail to Northern California.”
San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne Tissier, member of the search committee, member of the SamTrans and Caltrain Boards of Directors, member of the Metropolitan Transportation Committee:
“As our search advanced, Jim emerged as the right person for the right time. He understands our community and he understands the role of the three agencies in our community. He has a clear vision for what is next for these agencies and the skills as a consensus-builder to create and sustain the partnerships necessary to achieve that vision. It is our good fortune that he is willing to do the job at significant personal sacrifice.”
Tom Nolan, member of the Caltrain Board of Directors representing San Francisco, a founding member of the Caltrain Board in 1992, chair of the SFMTA and a member of the search committee:
“As an elected official in San Mateo County and as someone engaged in transit issues in San Francisco, I have known Jim Hartnett for more than two decades. He is a dedicated public servant who has always shown a breadth and depth of understanding about our region and about the role of Caltrain in that region. He rapidly emerged during the search process as the right person for the present and future role of the railroad and for ensuring that the Caltrain partnership is sustained through fairness, consideration and openness.”
Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, member of the Caltrain Board of Directors representing Santa Clara County: “I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Jim Hartnett on the Caltrain Board and in his capacity as a CHSRA Board Member. Jim is an excellent choice to lead these organizations. His background in local and state government gives him a unique perspective in dealing with the challenges facing all our organizations.”
San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Carole Groom, member of the SamTrans and Transportation Authority Boards of Directors: “Jim Hartnett gets it. He understands that this is more than a transportation job – that transportation is central to our success and growth as a community and our sustainability as a healthy place to live and work. This three-headed job requires consummate skill as a diplomat, as a visionary, as a leader in collaboration and consensus-building. Jim has all those qualities – he’s the right choice for what these agencies need now and into the future.”
Nuria Fernandez, General Manager, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, ex-officio member of the search committee: “We are pleased to learn of the appointment of the new Caltrain, SamTrans, San Mateo Transportation Authority General Manager, Jim Harnett. Meeting the competing needs of these three agencies and the region is a daunting task that he is well prepared to undertake. Jim Hartnett has the demonstrated local knowledge, regional sensitivity and proven track record to meet this task. I look forward to working with him as we address the challenges facing Caltrain and the region.”
About SamTrans: Funded in part by a half-cent sales tax, the San Mateo County Transit District also provides administrative support for Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. SamTrans has provided bus service to San Mateo County customers since 1976.
About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with limited commute service to Gilroy. Caltrain has enjoyed over three years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 60,000 average weekday riders earlier this year. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad will celebrate 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the corridor by 2020, reducing diesel emissions by 97 percent in 2040 and adding more service to more stations.
About the TA: Created to administer Measure A, San Mateo County’s half-cent sales tax, the Transportation Authority provides funding for transportation and infrastructure improvement projects. In 2004, more than 75 percent of San Mateo County residents voted to reauthorize Measure A for an additional 25 years.