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Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) Chief Executive Officer Art Leahy announced yesterday that he will leave his post when his contract expires April 5.The 65-year-old former bus operator considers it a "privilege, honor and pleasure" to have led LACMTA for the past six years, he said in a press release."My time at Metro has been filled with enormous successes, intense challenges and opportunities that have and continue to shape mobility for Los Angeles County’s 10 million residents," Leahy said.During his tenure as CEO, Leahy guided the implementation of one of the largest public works programs in the nation's history, and helped secure billions in federal and state dollars to match local transit sales taxes to finance construction of dozens of transit and highway projects. LACMTA currently is pursuing transit and highway projects and programs valued at more than $14 billion, agency officials said. Those projects include five new rail projects under construction, such as the Expo Line extension to Santa Monica and the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa, both scheduled to open next year; the Crenshaw/LAX transit project; the Regional Connector that will connect the Expo, Blue and Gold Lines in downtown Los Angeles; and the first phase of the Westside Purple Line subway extension to Wilshire and La Cienega. Last week, LACMTA also received federal approval to begin the engineering phase for extending the Purple Line to Century City.Leahy also launched a $1.2 billion overhaul of the Metro Blue Line, guided the purchase of a new fleet of rail cars, and helped turn Union Station into the hub of the region's bus and rail transit network, LACMTA officials said.Prior to joining the agency, Leahy served as CEO of the Orange County Transportation Authority and general manager of Metro Transit in Minneapolis-St. Paul. He began his transportation career as a bus operator for the Southern California Rapid Transit District in Los Angeles in 1971 and rose through the ranks to become chief operations officer before taking leadership positions at other transit agencies.The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Leahy's performance as CEO has been under "confidential review" by LACMTA's board for more than six months. However, in an interview with the newspaper, Leahy said it was his choice to step down.
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