Los Angeles – The Southern California Regional Rail Authority Board of Directors, the governing body of regional passenger rail service Metrolink, unanimously elected Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) representative and City of Glendale Councilmember Ara Najarian as its next chair during its December 11 regular meeting. Director Najarian replaces the outgoing chair Brian Humphrey, who represents the Ventura County Transportation Commission, effective January 1, 2021.
“I am taking the gavel with great appreciation for Brian’s leadership over the past two years, during which he welcomed in our new CEO Stephanie Wiggins and ushered in a new generation of leadership for the Agency,” said Chairman-Elect Najarian. “During Brian’s tenure, Metrolink saw the highest ridership levels in its history, as well as one of the most significant threats the transportation industry has seen in a generation: COVID-19. We thank him for helping secure Metrolink as an exemplary safety leader and essential service to the region during very uncertain times.”
San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) representative and Highland Mayor Pro Tem Larry McCallon was elected first vice chair, while Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) representative and Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee was elected as second vice chair. All three officers will serve one-year terms, but may serve a two-year term if re-elected in 2021.
“It’s been an honor serving as Metrolink’s chair and helping provide a safe, efficient and reliable transportation service to Southern California,” said Director Humphrey. “I was proud to lead Metrolink through this period of massive disruption and respond with innovative strategies to help keep our region functioning safely. With Ara as chair, I am confident we will emerge from the pandemic as a smarter, better, essential service.”
First elected to the Glendale City Council in 2005, Director Najarian served as Glendale’s mayor for four terms. He first served as a member of the Metrolink Board of Directors between 2007 and 2012 and was reappointed in 2013. Prior to his appointment as Metrolink Board chair, Director Najarian served as vice chairman for two years. Director Najarian is also the past chair of both the Metro Board of Directors and the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments. He currently sits on the board of directors of the Hollywood Burbank Airport Authority. An attorney by profession, Director Najarian’s civic leadership background also includes serving on the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees and the City of Glendale Transportation and Parking Commission.
Director Humphrey has proudly served nearly three decades on the Metrolink Board of Directors and continues his full-time work as a Command Staff Firefighter and spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD). Director Humphrey led the agency through one of the most challenging times in recent history during the COVID-19 pandemic, ushering through several key initiatives and protocols to keep riders and employees healthy and safe. During the crisis, Director Humphrey ensured that critical initiatives essential to the future of Metrolink and rail travel in the region moved forward, such as Metrolink’s Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) project, a $10 billion plan to build infrastructure enabling a higher frequency of regional passenger rail service in time for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Director McCallon, who served as the chair of the Metrolink Board in 2014, was elected to the Highland City Council in November 2002 and served as the city’s mayor from 2011 to 2013. In 2015, he was elected by officials of San Bernardino County to the South Coast Air Quality Management District Governing Board, where he serves as the chair of the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee. He is also a past president of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).
Director Chaffee was elected to the Orange County Board of Supervisors, representing the 4th District, in November 2018. The 4th District includes the Cities of Brea, Fullerton, La Habra, Placentia, most of Anaheim, part of Buena Park, and additional unincorporated communities. Prior to serving as a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Director Chaffee twice served as the City of Fullerton mayor and served as a councilmember for a total of six years.
“Director Humphrey has truly set the bar high as the Board chair through his kindness, professionalism and unparalleled dedication to the safety and well-being of others,” said Metrolink CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “Directors Najarian, McCallon and Chaffee are wonderful leaders who have showcased their expertise in supporting our efforts of providing safe and reliable rail service to the communities we serve.”
For more information about Metrolink, please visit metrolinktrains.com.
ABOUT METROLINK (metrolinktrains.com)
Metrolink is Southern California's regional passenger rail service enabling people to connect to their jobs and explore all that the region has to offer. Every year, Metrolink has nearly 12 million boardings from people who choose to ride the train to avoid gridlock, removing an estimated 9.3 million vehicles from the roads and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 130,000 metric tons. Metrolink is the largest commuter rail agency in California and the third largest in the United States operating seven lines along a 538-mile network that travels across Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.