VIA Metropolitan Transit Chief Keith Parker (pictured) announced his resignation before a special board meeting Tuesday.
Parker said he will be leaving San Antonio in 30-60 days after three years on the job.
Parker said he will assume the top spot as CEO of the Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transit Authority (MARTA).
According to a statement issued by VIA, the MARTA board convened late last week to announce their selection of Parker as the agency’s new leader.
However, Parker said, “MARTA is considered the most challenging and most difficult environment for public transit CEOs in the nation."
Parker said he's looking forward to the challenge.
“I think some have even described it as a shark tank,” Parker said. “But that’s what gets my juices flowing.”
He said it was more of a decision to move closer to his family in Virginia and the Southeast.
“When you have the opportunity to have a great job and live close to home as well, that’s rare,” Parker said. “You have to seize upon it when it does present itself.”
Henry Munoz III, VIA board chair, said, “I want everyone to understand that VIA is more than one person.”
However, Munoz said he credits Parker for a litany of improvements, including helping the once-troubled transit company enter the 21st century world of multi-modal transportation.
“Our ridership is among the highest in the nation over two years. Our safety improvements are among the best with a 20 percent reduction in accidents,” Parker said.
He also is leaving VIA employees with two annual three percent pay raises.
Parker said before he leaves, he still hopes to develop a funding scenario that removes controversial Advanced Transportation District dollars from funding VIA’s street car project.
Jeff Arndt, VIA’s deputy CEO and chief of business support services, was selected to serve as interim CEO. Arndt spent 25 years with Houston Metro in several leadership positions.
“This agency as a very well-laid out plan for the future and what I intend to do is move forward with that plan,” Arndt said.