For the first time the chair of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is from Dallas Area Rapid Transit. DART president/executive director Gary Thomas was elected chair Sept. 21 by association members. His term is one year.
Thomas has served the association in a variety of capacities, most recently as vice chair. APTA is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 public and private member organizations, involved in transit. According to the association more than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada are served by APTA member systems.
Prior to becoming DART president/executive director in 2001, he was the agency’s senior vice president of project management where he led the completion of 20-mile Light Rail Starter System and its first major expansion, a $1 billion, 24-mile project to Garland, Richardson and Plano.
In December 2010, DART completed the 28-mile Green Line light rail project, the longest of its kind in North America. With 72 miles in operation, DART has the longest light rail network in the United States. New extensions to Irving, DFW Airport and Rowlett are also underway. DART operates an extensive bus network connecting 13 cities in North Texas over a 700-mile service area, paratransit services for customers with mobility challenges, carpool/vanpool programs, and the region’s high occupancy vehicle (HOV) system. DART jointly operates the 35-mile Trinity Railway Express commuter rail line with the T in Fort Worth.
A Garland resident, Thomas is a 1980 engineering and architecture graduate of Texas Tech University and is a Registered Professional Engineer. He and his wife, Kay, have two children.