Lona Edwards Hankins named CEO of New Orleans Regional Transit Authority

March 6, 2023
Edwards Hankins joined New Orleans RTA in 2019 as chief of infrastructure and long-term planning and has served as interim CEO since December 2022.

Lona Edwards Hankins has been appointed to serve as the chief executive officer of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA). Edwards Hankins has served in the role in an interim capacity following the retirement of Alex Z. Wiggins in December 2022.

Edwards Hankins joined New Orleans RTA in 2019 as the agency’s chief of infrastructure and long-term planning. In that position, Edwards Hankins oversaw the development and execution of capital assets and the implementation of infrastructure improvement projects across all modes of RTA’s transit operations and administration.

“The RTA Board of Commissioners is pleased to select Lona Edwards Hankins as the next permanent CEO,” said Mark Raymond Jr., chair of the New Orleans RTA Board. “Since joining the RTA in 2019, Lona has demonstrated time and time again her commitment to our community, her integrity and her ability to bring in over $64 million in competitive federal funding to build a modern, rider-centered transit system.”

“Our goal when selecting the next leader of RTA was not only to ensure we continue our transformative progress in the right direction, but also to ensure they represent our transit ridership and the New Orleans community as a whole," said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell. "As interim CEO, Hankins exceptionally demonstrated her ability to be inclusive and forward thinking across all spectrums of our public transit system. She is well-equipped to permanently lead RTA and will be instrumental in ensuring a world-class transit system for all transit riders.”

Edwards Hankins brings more than 30 years of experience in the industrial and public sector to her role at the agency. Before coming to New Orleans RTA, she is credited with spearheading the rebuilding of New Orleans schools during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Previously serving as the director of major capital projects for the Recovery School District (RSD), Edwards Hankins completed more than $2 billion in projects across 40 school campuses for children of New Orleans.

“I am humbled to be selected by the board of commissioners to steward the RTA in this next and important phase of the agency’s history,” Edwards Hankins said. “Public transit is an important lifeline for our region’s families, workforce and youth. It is the pathway to economic mobility for families and the foundation of job growth and economic development in our region. I am eager to partner with the community to build the efficient, reliable and equitable transit system our riders so richly deserve.”

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