Newsroom | Four Decades of Transit Contributions Recognized

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The Arizona Transit Association (AzTA) recently named Eric Anderson their 2023 Transit Champion. The award was presented in April at the 36th Annual Statewide Transit Conference.

MAG Executive Director named 2023 “Transit Champion”

Transit, Award

Above: Valley Metro CEO Jessica Mefford-Miller presents MAG Executive Director Eric Anderson with the AzTA 2023 Transit Champion Award. Photo courtesy of AzTA.

With more than four decades of contributions to improving the Valley’s transportation system, MAG Executive Director Eric Anderson has helped change the way the region gets around. Those accomplishments are just part of the reason why the Arizona Transit Association (AzTA) recently named Anderson their 2023 Transit Champion. The award was presented in April at the 36th Annual Statewide Transit Conference hosted by AzTA and the Arizona Department of Transportation. 

Eric’s leadership in transportation over the past four decades — not only in our region but across the state — have made incredible changes for the people that we serve. I want to wish him the best and congratulate him on this incredible award.
Avondale Mayor Kenn Weise

Kenn WeiseAvondale Mayor and Regional Council Chair

A Lifetime of Service

Anderson first began serving MAG in 1983 and was hired in 2000 as transportation director. He was appointed executive director of MAG in 2018. Anderson also served as interim CEO for Valley Metro in 2016. Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, MAG vice chair, thanked Anderson for his leadership at MAG and for stepping into the role at Valley Metro at a critical time.

“There are so many people who can get a ride to work or to school because of his work,” said Gallego. “It’s incredible to think about his contributions, whether it be multiple regional transportation plans or helping grow the Valley system from a few bus lines to a truly regional network. Our skylines have changed because of Eric’s work.”

Eric Anderson announced transit champion at the AzTA Awards

Above: Jessica Mefford-Miller announced MAG Executive Director Eric Anderson as the 2023 Transit Champion Award at a ceremony on April 4. Photo courtesy of AzTA.

Maricopa County Supervisor Jack Sellers, who serves as chair of the Transportation Policy Committee, also thanked Anderson for his efforts. 

“Eric has always been a great champion for transit because he realized early that many major employers wanted to locate in an area with a viable transit system,” said Sellers. “He also recognized that transit would be an important element in complying with environmental requirements. He is very deserving of this award.”

Building Partnerships

Arizona Department of Transportation Director Jennifer Toth stated she appreciates Anderson for his willingness to collaborate and looks forward to continuing a strong partnership with MAG in the future. “MAG has been a critical partner on transportation projects that have made the Valley a more prosperous and livable community,” said in a written statement. “Having worked closely with Eric Anderson for many years, I can tell you he is a true public servant and has worked tirelessly to improve transportation for MAG region residents and visitors.”

Video produced by AzTA highlights some of Eric Anderson's achievements.

Career Achievements

Anderson recently announced his retirement, which will be effective July 1. Over his career, Anderson’s work has focused on regional and urban growth, economic development, and economic impact analysis. He has been involved in planning and research efforts related to technology, including autonomous and connected vehicles. He has focused on the urban form and social impacts of new technology and the implications for the regional transportation system. Recent efforts include overseeing the development of a 25-year regional transportation investment plan known as MOMENTUM 2050. Funding for the plan would need to come through an extension of the half-cent sales tax for transportation, which was approved by Maricopa County voters in 2004 as Proposition 400. The current funding expires in 2025. 

Published April 4, 2023