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California Briefing / Los Angeles

O.C. transit chief headed to MTA?

February 27, 2009|Steve Hymon

The top transportation official in Orange County appears to be the leading candidate to take the top transit job in Los Angeles County.

Art Leahy, chief executive of the Orange County Transportation Authority, would replace the retiring Roger Snoble as CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

OCTA spokesman Joel Zlotnik declined to comment Thursday on the potential loss of Leahy to Los Angeles County. He referred questions to MTA spokesman Marc Littman, who said, "There's nothing I can say."

The MTA board met behind closed doors Thursday to discuss the job and still must vote on a contract for the next CEO.

Leahy began his career in the 1970s as a bus driver for the agency that preceded the MTA. He eventually worked his way up to lead the MTA's operations staff before taking a job as general manager of the transit agency in Minneapolis-St. Paul in 1997. He has headed OCTA since 2001.

The MTA has more than 9,000 employees and an annual budget of $3.1 billion. The next CEO will be charged with helping the agency overcome the loss of millions of dollars in state aid and building several rail lines, including a subway extension, funded in part by the half-cent sales tax approved by county voters in November.

-- Steve Hymon

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