LOS ANGELES — Stephanie Wiggins will be the new chief executive officer of the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, L.A. Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti announced Thursday.
“Stephanie knows Metro and she knows this city,” Mayor Garcetti said in making the announcement over Facebook Live. “She knows how to make us better, and she’s the best person to make our system more resilient, more reliable, and more just.”
Wiggins has served as the CEO of the Metrolink commuter rail network since January 2019 and was Metro’s Deputy CEO for ten years prior to that, helping to secure the passage of Measure M, the 2016 voter-approved ballot initiative that approved a half-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects.
The first female to lead the agency, Wiggins takes the helm from current Metro CEO Phil Washington, who announced he was leaving in February. She takes over as the agency strives to recover from a 50% loss of ridership due to the pandemic and works to complete what Metro says is the most ambitious transportation infrastructure program in the country. In 2018, Metro adopted its Vision 2028 plan to transform the mobility landscape for LA County in advance of Los Angeles hosting the 2028 Olympic Games.
“L.A. County has many challenges ahead amid many exciting opportunities. The world is coming to our doorstep. Visitors are returning as our economy opens up,” Wiggins said during Thursday’s event, noting the Super Bowl and MLB All-Star games taking place in L.A. in 2022, the FIFA World Cup in 2026, and the Olympics in seven years.
She has her work cut out for her. Metro is working to complete 28 major transportation projects by 2028, including the Purple Line rail extension to the west side, additional bus rapid transit lines, microtransit, and an extension of the L.A. River bike path, among others.
As CEO of Metrolink, Wiggins oversaw an annual budget of $793 million. As CEO of Metro, she will oversee an operating budget of $6 billion.
“My immediate goals and focus will be on restoring transit, leading this county out of the pandemic and into a new dawn where customers come first and equity is at the center of everything we do,” Wiggins said, noting that Metro currently has 600,000 boardings every day. “People in this county rely on us for essential trips.”
With an operating area of 1,433 square miles, Metro is the third-largest public transportation system in the U.S. by ridership. The agency operates 2,000 buses serving more than 150 routes as well as six train lines.
“Promoting equity is essential to my vision for Metro,” said Wiggins, who is African American. “As we grow our infrastructure, we must play an active role in advancing racial justice and economic opportunity for all L.A. County residents.”