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McMillan taking reins as MTC executive director

Former deputy to lead Bay Area transportation, regional planning efforts

Therese W. McMillan, a career public transportation official with strong Bay Area ties, is set to start her new role this week as executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

In the position, which doubles as the top executive of the Association of Bay Area Governments, McMillan will lead the agencies' efforts in transportation and regional land-use planning, including housing policy and strategy, across the nine-county Bay Area.

"I am excited to return to the Bay Area, and to all its beauty and opportunities," said McMillan, a former MTC deputy executive director who has been working most recently as chief planning officer for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

"One of my primary goals is to make the Bay Area's transportation and housing opportunities attainable to all people who reside across the Bay Area. Tackling this challenge will take vision," McMillan said in a statement at the time of her hiring last month.

"It also will require new and innovative partnerships among Bay Area communities, service providers, and leaders across government and the private sector. Working with the Commission, I will strive to lead MTC forward as an extraordinary visionary and partner," she added.

McMillan, whose first day is scheduled to be this Friday, takes the reins from retiring executive director Steve Heminger, who had led MTC since 2001 and ABAG since the two agencies merged in 2017.

A familiar face for MTC, McMillan worked for the agency for 25 years at various levels, including more than eight years as deputy executive director for policy. She left MTC when then-President Barack Obama appointed her to serve as deputy administrator of the Federal Transit Administration in the U.S. Department of Transportation.

McMillan subsequently served as acting FTA administrator from March 2014 to March 2016 before taking the position as LA Metro's planning chief in April 2016.

"I would like to thank my colleagues on the commission for the many, many hours of time put into this national search to find the best possible pool of candidates for us to consider. I am confident that Ms. McMillan is the right person to lead the commission into the future," said Rohnert Park Mayor Jake Mackenzie, who serves as MTC board chair.

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