Transportation 2023: RANDY CLARKE
GENERAL MANAGER AND CEO, WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY, WASHINGTON, D.C.
In July 2022, Clarke joined WMATA, the Washington, D.C., regional public transit system, which manages the Metro subway system and Metrobus. He took leadership of WMATA when it was struggling with lingering low ridership from the pandemic and the removal of 60% of its railcars due to a wheel defect.
Things have picked up somewhat. The defective cars were fixed, and although Metro ridership hasn’t rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, bus ridership has exceeded 2019 numbers. In November 2022, WMATA opened the Silver Line’s $3 billion second phase, and in May, WMATA opened the $370 million Potomac Yard-VT station in Alexandria.
But Clarke isn’t done dealing with crises. This year, he’s focused on staving off a massive budget crisis and trying to get officials from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., to bail out the transit system. Due to decreased ridership and increased personnel costs, WMATA faces a $750 million shortfall next year that could result in drastic cuts to services.
Clarke previously was president and CEO of Capital Metro in Austin, Texas, and vice president of operations and member services for the American Public Transportation Association. He was also an executive for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.