LOS ANGELES — Art Leahy, chief executive of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, resigned Tuesday night after six years in the position.
Leahy's term as head of LA Metro will end when his contract expires on April 5.
There were rumblings last year about friction between Leahy and Metro's 14-member board during a restructuring process that ended in March with the number of executive direct reports to Leahy reduced from 22 to 10. The reductions were designed to reduce a deficit now anticipated to reach $83 million in 2018. Metro has an annual budget estimated at $5 billion and employs 9,000.
Leahy's departure comes with Metro in the midst of a multi-billion dollar buildout of its light rail and subway network.
"My time at Metro has been filled with enormous successes, intense challenges and opportunities that have and continue to shape mobility for Los Angeles County's 10 million residents," Leahy said in a statement.
He started in 2009 as construction began on the first rail projects being funded by Measure R, a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2008 that is estimated to provide $30 billion in funding over 30 years. The five rail lines currently under construction are estimated to cost $8 billion.
The transportation authority has struggled with plans to speed up construction of the rail network and complete highway repair projects after only some of the hoped-for federal funding materialized.
Even with federal legislators reluctance to fund transportation projects, Leahy and his staff managed to secure $2 billion in matching federal funds.
"Millions of people will get to work and home to their loved ones faster, because of his stewardship," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who also serves as Metro's board chair.
Leahy, 65, started his career as a bus operator for the Southern California Rapid Transit District, Metro's predecessor, in Los Angeles in 1971. He rose through the ranks to chief operations officer at SCRTD before leaving to work in the top spot at other transit authorities.
Prior to his tenure as Metro CEO, Leahy served as the chief executive officer at the Orange County Transportation Authority and general manager of the transit agency in Minneapolis-St. Paul. He later returned to Los Angeles to head Metro, one of the largest transit operators in the United States.
A Los Angeles native, he followed the path of his parents, both of whom had worked in transit.