Mefford-Miller to Lead Phoenix Valley MetroWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
The Phoenix (Ariz.) Valley Metro Board has appointed Jessica Mefford-Miller as CEO, effective April 4. She succeeds Scott Smith, who in August 2021 informed the Board of his intent to retire in 2022.
Mefford-Miller joins Valley Metro following 15 years of service at Metro Transit, which delivers light rail, bus, paratransit and microtransit throughout the St. Louis, Mo., metropolitan region. As Executive Director, she led Metro Transit through a reimagining of its bus system, which improved frequencies systemwide; creating a shift toward renewable energy through its battery-electric bus program; overseeing the planning and design of expansions to the current 46-mile light rail line; and leveraging the region’s rail investment to create transit-oriented development.
Mefford-Miller has also held posts at the National Park Service, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and The Ohio State University.
“Jessica offers extensive transit experience with a strong dedication to the customer experience, innovation and collaborative partnerships,” Valley Metro Board Chair and Mesa Councilmember Francisco Heredia said. “She also clearly demonstrated an ingenuity to lead through change and create positive outcomes for the good of the organization, employees and riders. Her energy certainly matched ours as we consider the future of Valley Metro and its important role coming out of the pandemic and into an era where we continue to experience such incredible growth as a region!”
“I am excited to join the team at Valley Metro at a time of tremendous growth and innovation within the metro Phoenix region, where transit is at the forefront as an essential public service,” incoming CEO Jessica Mefford-Miller said. “I look forward to working with the Boards, member agencies and staff to provide excellent transit service that delivers value to our communities and continuing realization of Valley Metro’s bold capital vision.”
Scott Smith joined Valley Metro as interim CEO in February 2016 and was asked to stay on in November 2016. Under his leadership, Valley Metro completed two major capital projects—the Gilbert Road Light Rail Extension in Mesa, Ariz., and the 50th Street/Washington enhanced ADA rail station in Phoenix—and received approval for a $530 million federal discretionary grant for the South Central Extension/Downtown Hub light rail project, which is currently under construction. Work has also begun on a rail extension in northwest Phoenix. Officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Valley Metro celebrated the signing of a $158.1 million Full Funding Grant Agreement for the Northwest Extension Phase II Light Rail Project on Nov. 19, 2021.
In related developments, on Jan. 10, 2022 three S700 light rail vehicles from Siemens Mobility entered revenue service on Phoenix Valley Metro’s 28-mile line between northwest Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa, Ariz.