City of Ithaca Common Council Alderperson Ducson Nguyen has taken over as the chairperson of the Tompkins Consolidated Area Transportation Board of Directors, starting at the board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 24.
According to a TCAT press release with a promise of “significant, but exciting challenges” ahead as the transit agency ramps ups to expand, improve and meet the demands of the future.
Nguyen, who represents the Second Ward, has served on the TCAT Board of Directors for the past three years at the recommendation of the City of Ithaca. He replaces Frank P. Proto, long-time TCAT board member, who served as chairperson in 2018. Proto will continue to serve on the board.
Per the press release, Nguyen said the board’s focus in 2019 will be on TCAT’s recently unveiled strategic plan that outlines both short- and long-term steps the agency needs to take for improved and expanded public transportation in Tompkins County over the next several years. Those plans include finding adequate space to house TCAT, which the release said has outgrown its facility at 737 Willow Ave., plus adding three electric buses to its fleet from a federal grant award.
Nguyen said he will reassess how the nine-member TCAT Board of Directors can best support staff and TCAT’s mission and said: “I am honored to work with a general manager, staff, and board of directors with such incredible talent and dedication for better connecting the residents of Tompkins County."
The board is also welcoming three new members including Deborah Dawson, Tompkins County Legislator, recommended by Tompkins County; Laura Lewis, Fifth Ward Commons Council Alderperson, recommended by the city; and Gary Stewart, Associate Vice President/ Community Relations for Cornell University, recommended by Cornell University. They three new members replace Peter Stein, Bill Grey and John Gutenberger, who finished their terms at the end of last year.
The TCAT Board of Directors is structured as follows: The City of Ithaca, Tompkins County and Cornell University are TCAT’s local underwriters. TCAT was established as a joint venture of transit agencies from each in 1998, and later became a private, not-for-profit corporation, effective 2005. As such, each underwriter is entitled to nominate three people to serve on the board. Those recommended, in turn, are considered for election by the TCAT board and, in their capacity as TCAT board members, serve TCAT independently.