Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANta) Executive Director Armando Greco announced he will retire at the end of the year.
Photo credit: Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority (LANta)
Armando V. Greco, who helped establish the Lehigh Valley's public transit agency in 1972 as a member of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, presented his retirement letter to the Authority's Board of Directors. Greco has served as LANta's Executive Director for thirty-seven years.
In his retirement letter, Greco thanked the board and its predecessors for their dedication and commitment to the Valley's public transportation system. "I am very proud to have been a part of LANta's success," Greco said. "LANta is a great organization supported by its board, staff and operating employees alike," he added.
From its formation as a public authority in 1972 Greco played a major role in LANta's growth. At the Planning Commission he was instrumental in securing the first major Federal Transit Administration and PennDOT grants to replace the old Lehigh Valley Transit Company's aged fleet.
Greco joined LANta as executive director in 1977 and has been at the helm at what has become one of the state’s and nations' most respected public transit agencies. In addition to growing the fixed-route bus system, he was a leader in establishing quality transportation services for people with disabilities in 1979 with the establishment of Valley Association for Specialized Transportation (VAST). The subsequent establishment of LANta's Metro Plus — now LANtaVan — Greco's leadership has provided millions of trips to for that special population in the community.
Greco served three stints as Chairman of the State Transit Association. His first two-year term began in 1980, followed by terms beginning in 1995 and 2001. He also served on the Board of Directors of the American Public Transportation Association from 1986 to 1992.
In 1985 LANta introduced the Metro Service, a more modern approach to public transportation in growing markets. Major changes included routing and schedule, as well as public information. As the organization continued to grow in the 1990s, LANta made it first purchase of accessible 'low floor' buses which enabled wheelchair and motorized scooter access to city buses. LANta's fleet became fully accessible in 2006.
In 1997 Greco was an important player in the effort to obtain approval of significant state-wide transit legislation which lead to a major growth in LANta ridership. Since that time LANta's ridership has soared some 70 percent.
Major capital improvements at LANta under his leadership, in addition to maintaining a high-quality fleet of vehicles (both city buses and LANtaVan vans) have centered on the construction of transportation centers in Bethlehem (2003), Allentown (2007) and Easton (currently under construction with operation scheduled for 2015). This past fall LANta built a new state-of-the-art maintenance facility at its Allentown headquarters. At the dedication, the Board of Directors named the building in Greco's honor.
The completion in 2010 of "Moving LANta Forward," a major study of the future of public transportation in the Lehigh Valley, lead to a complete restructuring of the LANtaBus route system, increased and improved service, as well as a modernization of its corporate image. As the Authority looks to the future Greco has lead a major initiative to introduce new technologies to manage the operation and planning of the LANtaBus system.
"Armand has ably guided LANta through more than one major shift in Lehigh Valley commuting patterns," said Timothy Brady, chairman of the board. "LANta was formed at a time when most commuters came into the cities for work; then it reversed as employment opportunities grew in the suburbs. Now he has us poised well as our cities experience new growth and vitality. A job well done," Brady added.
Greco's retirement is official January 2, 2015. The board will begin its search to fill the position of Executive Director as quickly as possible. The Goal is to have some overlap to help orient the new CEO to LANta.