Guest on The Infra Blog: Therese McMillan, Acting Administrator, Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

Posted by Content Coordinator on Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Therese McMillan, Acting Administrator, Federal Transit AuthorityTherese McMillan is currently the Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). She joined FTA as Deputy Administrator on July 2, 2009. As Deputy, McMillan assisted the Administrator in leading a staff of more than 500 in the Washington D.C. headquarters office and 10 regional offices throughout the United States, and implementing an annual budget approximating $10 billion. With the passage of a new surface transportation authorization, MAP-21, she has assumed a key role in guiding FTA’s implementation of transit-related provisions in the law and overseeing the development of critical guidance.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. McMillan was the Deputy Executive Director-Policy at the San Francisco Bay Area Region’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission, where she was responsible for strategic financial planning and MTC’s management of federal, state and regional fund sources for transit, highways, roadways and other modes; state and federal legislative advocacy, and public affairs and community outreach.

Safety Depends on Working Infrastructure
Our existing transit infrastructure is in a challenging place whereby we estimate that there’s a current backlog of $87 billion in maintenance and repair on the existing system…One big link that probably shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone is that if you have infrastructure that is not in a state of good repair, that can create compromises in safety.

Transit Generates Jobs and Spurs Investment
The economic impact of transit investments has different faces…First, it should be recognized that any time you are building and repairing transit services, that in and of itself is creating jobs in the near term. Another thing, though, that’s important to think about in terms of economic impact, is the ability of transit to connect people to their jobs, and often to connect them in a more efficient and effective way than being caught in traffic and congestion.

No Two Transit Systems Are Alike
One of the things that’s been a mantra for the Federal Transit Administration is that if you’ve seen one transit agency, you’ve seen one transit agency, because what transit can mean to any community can be vastly different..I think it’s more a matter of how can we invest in transit in a way that provides enough resources to respond to the unique needs of a community…

Communities Should Set Their Own Goals
…Good public policy, no matter what the subject, benefits from an educated and engaged citizenry…In transportation, one of the things that certainly we have encouraged is the involvement of communities to set their visions so that we can help them realize their visions. And in setting those visions the best ones are the ones where the community members themselves, the general public, interested stakeholders, local elected officials, work together to develop that vision.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA): Maintaining Infrastructure & Securing New Investments
The core of our work is managing federal funding for transit infrastructure, and in some cases for transit operations. Within that, it’s very important to recognize that we do a lot and put a lot of attention toward making sure that our existing infrastructure remains in a state of good repair…Then we also play an important role in the process of getting funds out for new capital projects.

Download full transcript (PDF): Therese McMillan on The Infra Blog

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