Jim Hartnett tapped to head Caltrain agency

Jim HartnettA regional search committee Wednesday selected Jim Hartnett as the new head of the San Mateo County Transit District (SMCTD) effective March 30.

Hartnett, a former Redwood City councilman and board chair of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, will take over as the new general manager and CEO of the Peninsula-based transportation agency in the San Francisco Bay Area.

SMCTD includes under its fold San Mateo County’s bus and paratransit service operator Samtrans, Caltrain commuter rail service and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.

“This is personal for me,” Hartnett said. “I grew up on the Peninsula. I rode the bus before there was a SamTrans. I rode the train before there was a Caltrain. I believe in what transit can do to make a better life for all of us and to preserve those things we so deeply value and treasure about living and working here. I understand the important role our bus and train systems play in maintaining our quality of life and sustaining the economic vitality of our region.”

Hartnett will replace Michael J. Scanlon, who is retiring after leading the agency for more than 15 years.

The new general manager and CEO steps in as the agency is about to embark on a major electrification project along the Caltrain corridor between San Francisco and San Jose, all in preparation for enhanced commuter rail and future high-speed rail services. With a majority of Caltrain’s route and station stops located along the Peninsula, SMCTD will play a major role in shaping the future of regional and statewide passenger rail service.

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