At its regular meeting on February 10, 2014, Pierce Transit’s Board of Commissioners elected Rick Talbert as its Chair, effective March 1, 2014.
Talbert replaces Marilyn Strickland, whose second one-year term as Chair ends on February 28, 2014.
Following the unanimous vote of approval, Strickland called Talbert, “a strong advocate for public transportation,” and told him he would do well in his new role. Strickland chaired her last Board meeting on February 10, but plans to continue serving as a Pierce Transit Commissioner until her term ends in 2015.
Talbert has an impressive legacy on the Pierce Transit Board, having served as Commissioner during his eight years on the Tacoma City Council and for four additional years since his election to the Pierce County Council in 2010. He has had the unique experience of guiding the agency in times of service expansion and contraction, and he was actively involved in shaping Board policy that brought the agency through five years of dramatic revenue losses and service cuts.
Largely due to increased sales tax revenue and a focus on efficiency and innovation, the agency’s financial forecasts now project a six-year plan that is sustainable through 2019. When asked about the agency’s prospects for the future, Talbert is optimistic.
“We now have the opportunity to build service back as the recovery continues,” Talbert says, “and I’m pleased to see the agency successfully working with invested communities to develop new lines of service like the Gig Harbor Trolley, the Fife-Milton-Edgewood Community Connectors, and the Custom Bus Express Service.”
Prior to his election as Chair, Talbert served as Vice-Chair of the Pierce Transit Board for two years, and sits on the agency’s Executive Finance Committee.
In other action, the Board elected Commissioner Steve Vermillion as Vice-Chair effective March 1, 2014. Chair Strickland also appointed Commissioner Lauren Walker to the Executive Finance Committee, replacing the vacancy created by the departure of Commissioner Derek Young.
Rick Talbert, Pierce County Council
Carol Mitchell, Pierce Transit Public Relations Officer