October 14, 2016

Dealing with Mega Projects: Big Costs, Big Risks, Big Expectations

Time

1:40 pm - 3:00 pm

Location

1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village

Speaker(s)

Therese McMillan, Chief Planning Officer, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Abstract

In the public sector, the delivery of projects—often very complex, multi-million/billion dollar investments—become a measuring stick of an agency’s effectiveness. Indeed, agency’s success or struggles with major projects can reverberate over years, impacting on the agency’s politics, structure, authorities, and relationship with the community. Speaking from her experience at the Federal Transit Administration, and her current role as Chief Planning Officer for the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority (LA Metro), Ms. McMillan’s talk will address some recent experiences across the country showcasing 5 major transit projects, the cost pressures and project delivery challenges the project sponsors faced, and how they addressed them in different ways—and critically, the lessons learned for the future.

Biographical Sketch

Therese McMillan assumed the position of Chief Planning Officer for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“LA Metro”) in April 2016. In that capacity, she provides executive leadership for Metro’s planning, grant funding, and real estate functions. Key initiatives include development of the agency’s recent transportation sales tax ballot Measure M, and countywide long range plan; implementation of county “active transportation” programs; strategic fund program development; and emerging community initiatives such as public health and transportation access.

Prior to joining LA Metro, McMillan served as the Acting Administrator for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) of the US Department of Transportation. During her almost 7 years at FTA, McMillan led reforms in transit safety, emergency response and resiliency investment; capital planning and oversight, and civil rights program development and oversight, including Title VI and ADA.

Before her career at FTA, McMillan was Deputy Executive Director of Policy at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the regional planning and funding agency for the nine- county San Francisco Bay area. During her time with MTC, Therese was an instructor in transportation funding and finance at the Mineta Transportation Institute, San Jose State University.