It’s official: MARTA board votes to hire new boss

By Maggie Lee

A board vote that took less than a minute ended a process that took months: finding a new general manager and CEO of MARTA. Jeffrey Parker will take over leading the agency at a time of big expansion.

Jeffrey Parker at MARTA headquarters on Friday, just after its board voted to hire him as the agency's new president and CEO. Credit: Maggie Lee

Jeffrey Parker at MARTA headquarters on Friday, just after its board voted to hire him as the agency’s new president and CEO. Credit: Maggie Lee

Parker said he’ll start one day next week, once he and the agency sign a contract.

“I’m looking forward to spending more time with many the staff that I know and the many staff that I’m going to get to know so much more. I look forward to doing a lot of great things that this organization has been doing for years,” said Parker, just after the MARTA board unanimously voted Friday to enter into formal negotiations with him.

Parker is departing a post as a vice president at infrastructure and design firm HNTB Corporation’s Atlanta office. He’s a former MARTA senior director of transportation and has also led transit operations in Boston and Connecticut.

He was the sole finalist in a search the board authorized last year with the departure of another Parker, Keith Parker, who left the post and is now CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia.

Jeff Parker, new president and CEO of MARTA. Credit: Maria Saporta

Jeff Parker, new president and CEO of MARTA. Credit: Maria Saporta

The new Parker will start the same week that state Legislature may be voting on a landmark rework of metro Atlanta transit governance. If an ambitious bill becomes law, it might entice voters in counties beyond Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton into the MARTA system.

Besides that, some of the big decisions on the horizon could include how to spend relatively new sales taxes for transit. Those new builds could include rail expansion south into Clayton, some kind of high-capacity service for the Emory area, streetcars on the BeltLine and more.

Maggie Lee is a freelance reporter who's been covering Georgia and metro Atlanta government and politics since 2008.

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