New MARTA CEO Jeffery Parker

MARTA board votes to hire Jeffrey Parker as new CEO

The MARTA Board of Directors Friday agreed to hire a new CEO to lead the agency into an uncertain future.

The board unanimously voted to authorize contract negotiations with Jeffrey Parker, vice president at the infrastructure firm HNTB Corp.’s Atlanta office. It named him the sole finalist for the job two weeks ago.

Those negotiations won’t last long, and likely will be concluded early next week. Parker expects to begin work at MARTA sometime next week.

VIDEO: Learn more about mass transit expansion options in metro Atlanta with the AJC's "5 things to know" series.

Parker inherits an agency on the verge of expansion in Atlanta and Clayton County. One of his first big tasks will be helping them flesh out the details of those expansions.

He also must help MARTA negotiate an uncertain regional transit future.

Two bills pending in the General Assembly would create a regional board to oversee transit construction and funding in 13 metro Atlanta counties. The bills could pave the way for additional expansions. But until lawmakers pass a final bill, their effect on MARTA remains uncertain.

Parker has more than 25 years of transportation management experience. He’s a former commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation and also ran Boston’s passenger rail operations. He also spent nearly three years leading MARTA’s rail, bus and paratransit operations a decade ago.

Parker becomes the permanent replacement for former CEO Keith Parker, who is credited with reviving MARTA’s financial standing and reputation. Parker left last fall to lead Goodwill of North Georgia.

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