Among his many accomplishments during 12 years in Nashville, Ballard directed the start-up of the 31-mile, six-station Music City Star commuter rail line, which was opened on time and on budget. The RTA is now working on plans to acquire a freight line in order to start a second Music City Star line.
“My recruitment by Fort Worth was an unexpected career opportunity with the challenge of starting a new commuter rail line while growing ridership on an already thriving transit system with dedicated funding,” Ballard said. “The Dallas/Fort Worth area is one of the largest urbanized areas in the U.S. and is initiating some significant changes in which I will enjoy participating.”
Ballard said it was a tough decision to leave a growing and vibrant city such as Nashville with the tremendous progress that has been made. “We have successfully changed the face and the operation of public transportation in Nashville, and I am extremely grateful for the strong support given me by the MTA and RTA Boards, Mayor Karl Dean, Mayor Bill Purcell, the Metro Council, and the terrific transit employees whose professionalism, knowledge, and dedication to service have been extraordinary and much appreciated,” he said.
Ballard recently celebrated his 12th anniversary as CEO of the Nashville MTA and his fifth as CEO of the RTA. The RTA responsibility was added in December 2008. Prior to this assignment, Ballard served on the RTA board of directors for several years as a governor’s appointee.
Ballard and others were successful in pushing for the passage of enabling legislation that allows Tennessee’s regional transit authorities to identify and raise dedicated funds for public transportation. The Tennessee State Legislature passed bill the without a single vote against it in either the House or the Senate.