Metrolink News

Friday January 11, 2013

San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris becomes chair, OCTA’s Michael Hennessey selected as vice chair, Perris Mayor Daryl Busch elected second vice chair

LOS ANGELES – The Southern California Regional Rail Authority Board of Directors, the governing body of Metrolink, unanimously elected San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris as its chair today at its regular monthly meeting.

Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) representative Michael Hennessey and Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) member and Perris Mayor Daryl Busch were also unanimously elected vice chair and second vice chair, respectively.

The elections result in one-year terms, but the officers may serve a two-year term if re-elected.

Morris, representing the San Bernardino Association of Governments (SANBAG), has served on the Metrolink Board since 2006. A graduate of the University of Redlands, cum laude, and Stanford University School of Law, Morris retired after nearly 40 years as a practicing lawyer and judge to become the mayor of San Bernardino in 2005. He was re-elected in 2009.

“Efficient and accessible public transportation is essential to our region and Metrolink holds a profound role in that effort,” Morris said. “As a frequent Metrolink rider, I look forward to continuing the ground-breaking safety initiatives the agency has embarked upon.”

In addition to his transportation experience with SANBAG, Morris currently serves on the Board of Directors for Omnitrans and the San Bernardino International Airport Authority. Through his tireless work, the sbX E Street Corridor Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project is underway. The sbX service, the first BRT project east of Los Angeles, will transport riders between northern San Bernardino and Loma Linda when service begins in early 2014.

He has also been instrumental in plans to extend Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line to Redlands and the development of a multi-modal transit center in downtown San Bernardino.

"Metrolink’s long-term plan to expand interconnectivity throughout Southern California and revitalize transit assets is critical," Morris said.  

Morris replaces outgoing Chair Richard Katz, who has served on the Metrolink Board since 2008 as a mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board. Katz assumed the Metrolink chairmanship in 2011.

Katz has played a pivotal role in expanding Metrolink’s safety culture. He has led the agency’s path to implementing Positive Train Control, hosted a safety summit in partnership with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and oversaw the installation of inward facing cameras.

A former member of the California State Assembly, Katz also helped secure the agency’s investment in state of the art and cleaner Tier 4 locomotive technology.

Hennessey was appointed as a public member to the OCTA Board of Directors in 2011. He began serving on the Metrolink Board of Directors as an alternate in January 2012 and was appointed as a voting member in December.

With more than 20 years of experience in the Southern California real estate industry, Hennessey is currently the principal of Hennessey Group, a real estate development and consulting firm. His extensive real estate experience includes the areas of development, real property acquisition, eminent domain, relocation, community outreach and an intimate understanding of redevelopment law and process.

Hennessey holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He has taught real estate and real estate appraisal at Rancho Santiago College and Fullerton College.

Busch initially began to serve on the Metrolink Board in 2005, as an alternate, and was appointed as a voting member in 2008. He was first elected the mayor of Perris in 1999. Through his effort, RCTC is in the process of awarding a contract to begin construction of an extension of Metrolink service to the City of Perris.

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Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 20th year of operation. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. Metrolink operates seven routes through a six-county, 512 route-mile network. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the seventh largest based on annual ridership.