Whang, in presiding over the board’s first 2014 meeting on Jan. 23, said his priorities while at the TCAT helm will be to look for solutions to the transit agency’s persistent budget shortfalls, particularly for capital needs. He said he also plans to continue TCAT’s long-term strategic planning process originating from a day-long retreat attended by TCAT staff, board members and other stakeholders last year.
“I am excited about this year and I am looking forward to another productive year working with TCAT staff, fellow board members and TCAT advisory committees to ensure TCAT’s success going forward,” said Whang, who served on the TCAT board since 2010. Among his myriad duties at Cornell, Whang oversees the university’s buildings, grounds and utility infrastructure as well as commuter, fleet and parking services, and campus mail services. Whang also serves on Cornell President David Skorton’s senior leadership team.
Whang replaces 2013 TCAT Chairperson Jennifer Dotson, former City of Ithaca Common Council member and executive director of Ithaca Carshare. Dotson was re-elected to the TCAT board and will serve in the capacity as chairperson of the board’s Planning Committee. In addition, Dotson will continue as TCAT policy committee representative to the Ithaca-Tompkins County Transportation Council (ITCTC).
“We are thankful for Jennifer’s dedication, hard work and leadership in 2013 and for advocating tirelessly for a better funding structure for TCAT,” said TCAT General Manager Joe Turcotte. “And, we look forward to working closely with Kyu and plan to take advantage of his vast array of experience and knowledge as we strive to meet capacity in the face of growing ridership.”
Turcotte noted that in 2013, TCAT broke ridership records for the seventh year in a row with 4,388,699 annual trips, a 6.3 percent increase from 2012.
Also at its Jan. 23 meeting, the TCAT board unanimously elected and welcomed back Tompkins County Legislator Kathy Luz Herrera to the TCAT board. Herrera served on the TCAT board and TCAT’s predecessor operating committee from 2001 to 2013. Herrera replaces former County Legislator Pam Mackesey, who has served on the TCAT board for nearly 10 years and was instrumental in finding extra funding for TCAT through mortgage recording tax revenues.
In a resolution of appreciation to Mackesey at the board’s Dec. 5 meeting, the board praised Mackesey for her “exhaustive research, persistence and advocacy led to the adoption of county and state legislation allowing Tompkins County to forward mortgage recording tax revenues to TCAT to help offset costs for capital and operating needs to sustain TCAT, Inc., as a strong pillar of local public transportation.”
TCAT’s other board members for 2014 include: Bill Gray, former city of Ithaca superintendent of public works; David Howe, Cornell’s senior director of facilities administration and finance, Seph Murtagh, city of Ithaca Common Council member; Kellie Page, Cornell University’s associate vice president of student and academic services; Frank Proto, former Tompkins County legislator, and Peter Stein, Tompkins County legislator.
In 2014, Murtagh will replace Proto, who is TCAT’s 2014 vice chairman, as board secretary and treasurer.
At the Jan. 23 meeting, Whang announced board committee assignments, which were unanimously approved by the board. They are: