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GSA Appoints Director and Alternate Director to Metro Board

Downey and Acosta Bring 70 Years Combined Transportation Experience to WMATA

GSA # 10662

January 24, 2010
Contact: Caren Auchman, (202) 525-8165
caren.auchman@gsa.gov

WASHINGTON – The U.S. General Services Administration yesterday appointed Mortimer L. Downey to serve as director and Marcel C. Acosta to serve as alternate director of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board (WMATA, commonly known as Metro) for a four year term. Under federal law (P.L.110-432) and the WMATA compact, the GSA Administrator has the authority to appoint two directors and two alternative directors to the WMATA Board. 

The Metro Board of Directors determines agency policy and provides oversight for the funding, operation, and expansion of transit facilities. Once federal appointments are complete, the Metro Board of Directors will be composed of eight voting and eight alternate directors. Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, and the federal government appoint two voting and two alternate directors each.

“Both Mort Downey and Marcel Acosta have a long history of exceptional public service and will bring a wealth of relevant experience and knowledge to the Metro Board of Directors,” said GSA Acting Administrator Stephen R. Leeds. “With more than 70 years of combined experience in transportation, sustainable development, urban planning, and public administration, Mort Downey and Marcel Acosta will be valuable additions to the WMATA Board.”

With a majority of over 300,000 federal employees who use Metrorail, Metrobus, and MetroAccess systems to get to and from work each day, the government relies on WMATA to ensure mobility and access for the federal workforce.

“After being involved with the Metro system for many years, this appointment is a great opportunity to work together with the members of the Metro Board and other stakeholders to ensure that strategic planning and accountability for results remain a high priority,” said the Honorable Mortimer L. Downey. “The Metro system is critical for the future of our region and I will work hard to give riders the system they deserve and the federal government a good return on its investment.”

Downey brings more than 50 years of experience in the operations and management of major public transportation authorities. He has been involved with the DC Metro system for over 30 years, helping to complete and fund the system as both a government official and an industry expert. Having previously served as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation and as Executive Director of the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority, the nation’s largest transit system, Downey has run and overseen efficient and accountable transit programs across the nation. As a resident of Northern Virginia, Downey has been a devoted rider of the Metro system for over 20 years.

“As the region’s largest employer, the federal government has a huge stake in improving the quality and infrastructure of the area’s transportation system," said Marcel Acosta. "More than 40 percent of rush hour commuters on Metrorail are federal employees. As one of Metro’s daily riders, I am personally committed to helping create a stronger, healthier transit system that will better serve this region and be a showcase for the nation." 

As Executive Director for National Capital Planning Commission, Marcel Acosta has extensive knowledge of the DC area. Prior to joining NCPC, Acosta served as an executive of the Chicago Transit Authority, the nation’s second largest transit system, where he successfully oversaw initiatives to reduce operating costs of the bus and rail systems and to increase system ridership. Acosta is a resident of the District of Columbia and rides the Metro to work every day.

“I applaud the selection of Mort Downey and Marcel Acosta to the Metro Board,” said William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association. “They are two excellent choices who will bring a regional perspective to tackling the critical issues confronting WMATA. Their long-time experience and expertise will be invaluable in moving public transportation forward for the entire region.”  

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