The CEO of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Jeffrey Parker, has died, according to the organization. It didn’t offer any additional information on his passing.
The company announced the sad news of GM/CEO Jeffrey Parker’s death on Friday evening, January 14, 2022. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Parker, 55, has been the executive director of MARTA for almost four years. He oversaw the expansion plans in Atlanta and Clayton County, as well as the negotiation of a new agreement among its member jurisdictions that paved the way for a 10-year sales tax extension.
During the 2019 Super Bowl, when hundreds of thousands of fans packed trains to attend the game and other related events, Parker directed MARTA to a successful conclusion. He also assisted in negotiating a new labor deal that provided employees 3 percent yearly raises and improved in other ways.
Mr. Parker has also aided MARTA in the recent coronavirus epidemic, which lasted almost two years. As passenger numbers dropped and staff infections rose, the agency was forced to scale back bus service.
Faced with a zero-dollar budget, the agency has had to make tough choices. It’s reduced services and increased cleaning in order to maintain safe transportation while relying on federal dollars to cover expenses.
In January 2019, during the State of the City address, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that a new MARTA station would be built in Avondale Estates. The existing station will be demolished and replaced with a new facility at Interstate 20 and Chamblee Tucker Road. The first phase of construction is expected to begin in 2021 and continue
At the time of his death, Parker was a popular figure in the community and state and local leaders expressed their shock and sadness.
“He had a brilliant mind for transportation and logistics, as well as a big heart for people,” said Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia. “He will be sorely missed.”
“Jeff Parker was a visionary leader — one who recognized the tremendous potential of public transportation and what it represented for our communities,” said House Speaker David Ralston. “He understood the importance of collaboration and was a great partner in moving Georgia forward.”
“Mr. Kim agreed to make a gift of $12,000 to the Atlanta Public Schools Foundation in honor of Jeff and his family for the students of our city,” according to the release. “Jeff understood that MARTA is more than simply a transportation system—it represents a connection for residents and visitors alike in our great metropolis
Parker joined the agency in 2015 as vice president for HNTB Corp.’s Atlanta office, where he had previously worked as vice president of infrastructure and design. He also managed transit operations in Boston and Connecticut during his career, directing MARTA’s rail, bus, and paratransit services from 2005 to 2008.
“Jeff was a vocal advocate for MARTA, and his leadership gave us a solid basis on which to build.”
On the other hand, MARTA said it would provide more information on a leadership transition plan in the coming days. It also stated that it will “provide grief counseling for staff as we deal with this devastating news.”