Metro Tuesday announced it received the 2023 Conference of Minority Transportation Officials Agency of the Year Award for its achievement in expanding its transit system while promoting equity and driving economic development across the region.
COMTO awards are highly regarded in the transportation industry, recognizing organizations and individuals who have demonstrated leadership, innovation and commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion within the field, according to Metro officials.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, who was recently appointed as the new Metro board chair, congratulated CEO Stephanie Wiggins and former Board Chair Ara Najarian and the entire Metro agency for earning the award.
“This recognition shows that the entire organization is dedicated to expanding access to the Metro system across Los Angeles while consistently working toward a more equitable, high-quality rider experience,” Bass said in a statement.
Metro officials said the agency has one of the “most ambitious” transit expansion programs underway.
In October 2022, the agency opened seven of the nine K Line stations in South Los Angeles and Inglewood. Metro opened its Regional Connector last month, adding three new stations in downtown Los Angeles and connecting the A, E, B and D rail lines.
This new connection provides riders a “one-seat ride” from Azusa to Long Beach and East Los Angeles to Santa Monica.
As part of its expansion plans, Metro intends that 48% of its contracts and procurements include small, disadvantaged and historically under- utilized businesses by 2028.
According to the transit agency, since 2015, Metro has awarded more than $1 billion to small businesses across several programs, including Small Business Enterprise and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise, Small Business Prime and the Local Small Business Preference.
Metro also implemented an Equity Platform, which led to the development of new fare policies, expansion of the transit system and streamlining the process to build new housing, agency officials said.
“I am so proud of the tireless efforts and dedication of our entire team in providing exceptional transportation services to our communities,” Wiggins said in a statement. “We are grateful to the be recognized by COMTO and inspired to continue pushing the boundaries of excellence in public transportation.”