Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Phillip A. Washington is stepping down after six years at the helm of the transit agency, it was announced today. Washington informed the Metro board, headed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, that he does not plan to seek a new contract or extend his current contract, which expires in May.
The board will conduct a national search for the next CEO.“Phil Washington has been a visionary leader, reimagining our transit network and steering our region toward an era of generational growth and lasting progress,” Garcetti said. “With Phil at the helm, Metro had a clear direction, strong steward and champion for Measure M. He leaves this agency much better than he found it, with an expanding public transportation system that remains a force for sustainability, equity, jobs, workforce development and shared prosperity across the L.A. area.”
During his time as CEO, Washington managed Metro’s $7 billion budget, oversaw $18-20 billion in capital construction projects and provided oversight of the country’s third-busiest transit agency, which had about 1.2 million passengers per year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“It has been my distinct pleasure and absolute honor to serve and lead Metro’s nearly 11,000 employees for the last six years,” he said. “I leave with great satisfaction knowing that working together we have improved mobility and increased access to opportunity for all residents of L.A. County, and weathered the most devastating health crisis of the past century. We have quickened the sense and pace of public service and left L.A. County’s mobility space better than it was.”
According to Metro, Washington worked to advance equality within the transit agency’s workforce as well as professional development programs for employees, including the SEED Transportation School of Los Angeles County, Metro Leadership Academy and the Women and Girls Governing Council.
Washington also worked to create opportunities for small businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans and to spur innovation at Metro, including the creation of TAP apps for Apple and Android phones, a partnership with the Transit app and the possibility of a fareless transit system in L.A. County.
“Phil Washington has provided exemplary leadership for Metro throughout his tenure, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board First Vice Chair Hilda L. Solis. “The past year brought a myriad of challenges for the agency in terms of budget, operations and capital projects — and Phil met the moment every time.”
Washington, who has been with Metro since May 2015, played an integral role in voter-approved Measure M, which launched the nation’s largest public works program that will create an estimated 700,000 jobs in the region. Washington was also instrumental in securing $9 billion in grant funding by working with Metro’s state and federal partners. Inglewood Mayor and past Metro Board Chair James Butts had high praise for Washington’s accomplishments.
“I have served the public in three different cities and on countless boards over the past 48 years. Worked with some great managers and leaders — none greater than Phil Washington,” he said. “Metro and Los Angeles County will sorely miss him. Thank you for your visionary leadership and service.”