Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait is resigning from the board of the Orange County Transportation Authority, saying he doesn’t’ have the time to serve both on the board and as mayor.
“Unfortunately, my duties as a new Mayor require more time than I anticipated,” Tait said in an April 12 resignation letter.
Anaheim City Council Member Lorri Galloway will succeed Tait on the 17-member board subject to approval by the county’s 34 mayors who select the city representatives for the agency, which sets countywide transportation policies.
The mayors’ committee is scheduled to meet May 12. Tait’s resignation will become effective as soon as his replacement is appointed.
Tait’s predecessor as mayor, Curt Pringle, chairman of the state’s High-Speed Rail Commission, devoted a great deal of time and energy to transportation issues, including helping obtain funds to build Anaheim’s planned $183.8 million Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC).
When it’s completed, the ARTIC station is supposed to serve busses and taxis, as well as the Metrolink commuter train, and, if it goes through, the planned Anaheim to San Francisco high-speed rail line.
The county transportation authority was critical to ARTIC funding. More than 75 percent of its financing or $143.1 million comes from county funds administered by the transportation authority.
“He (Pringle) leaves big shoes to fill on the OCTA,” Galloway said Monday. Anaheim is “front and center” when it comes to Orange County transportation projects, said Galloway, who has served on the Anaheim city council since 2004.
She added that: “It is very important to have someone who represents Anaheim who understands the importance of the projects to the entire region.”
There is speculation at both the OCTA and in Anaheim that newly elected Councilwoman Kris Murray will ultimately take over Anaheim’s seat on the board. However, Galloway said she had not talked to Murray at all about this possibility and Murray said other work for the city and conflict of interest rules would keep her from serving on the transportation board for three years.
Murray worked for the OCTA until last fall, overseeing the department that handles its Sacramento and Washington lobbyists. She now is Senior Vice President for Business Development and Government Affairs at Willdan, an Anaheim engineering firm.
She also is the city representative on the Metropolitan Water District board and the Southern California Association of Governments.
“I’ve had no discussions with the mayor about going on that (transportation) board,” she said Tuesday. But she didn’t rule it out “sometime in the future” but said “I think she (Galloway) will be a great advocate.”