Carrie Butler leaving Lextran to become TARC executive director

Sept. 11, 2020
Butler will begin at TARC on Sept. 21 and is expected to use her deep transit and public service experience to bring “stability and energy” to the transit system.

Following an extensive national search, Transit Authority of River City (TARC) in Louisville, Ky., didn’t have to look far to find its next executive director. Carrie Butler, general manager at Lextran in Lexington, Ky., which is less than 80 miles west of Louisville, has been appointed to be executive director of TARC.  

Butler’s last day at Lextran will be Sept. 16 and her first day at TARC will be Sept. 21.

Butler has more than 20 years of transit and public service experience, including as TARC’s director of Planning from 2002-2010. In a press release announcing her appointment, the city of Louisville described Butler having an “extensive background at all levels of the transit industry, as well as a dedication to community engagement and collaborative work with local, state and federal funding agencies.”

Butler will continue to serve an industry in crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic, but she joins TARC following a tumultuous time for the transit system. TARC’s previous executive director, Ferdinand Risco, Jr., resigned in February 2020 amid sexual misconduct allegations. As the Courier Journal reported on Sept. 8, 2020, an internal investigation into his time at TARC found “multiple acts of sexual misconduct and ‘severe financial improprieties’.” Bringing calm to the storm is something city leaders believe Butler can deliver.

“Carrie brings a broad base of experience in the transit field, a great knowledge about TARC operations and a solid reputation in management to this new role,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “She brings stability and energy at time that TARC needs both, and I’m excited about her plans for moving this agency forward.”

While ridership on TARC is down nearly 70 percent due to COVID-19, the system had previously moved approximately 41,000 passengers per day – 63 percent for work and 20 percent for school. In June, the system brought 20 employees back to work who had been temporarily laid off due to the pandemic. The recall of staff was in preparation of service and ridership increases as the region reopened.

“TARC’s critical role in the everyday life of our passengers and the regional service we provide is an important element of the economic future of the city we call home,” Butler said. “I am honored to serve the agency as executive director and excited to work with this committed team of experienced professionals once again to proudly deliver quality public transit to the Greater Louisville region.”

In Lexington, Lextran Assistant General Manager Jill Barnett is expected to be named acting general manager. Transdev, Lextran’s long standing management company, will begin a search for the permanent general manager, as well as the assistant general manager.

“The board of directors is grateful to have had Carrie Butler at the helm during a critical time for our transit system. Under her leadership, Lextran doubled down on our commitment to our community, advanced sustainability and continues to persist on the frontlines of this pandemic to serve Lexington’s essential workers,” said Christian Motley, chairman of the Lextran Board of Directors. “Our board will continue to partner with Transdev to ensure a seamless transition for Lextran staff, riders and community partners.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.

Transit Authority of River City (TARC)
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