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Kirk Dillard to lead RTA Board of Directors for third term

June 20, 2024

CHICAGO, JUNE 20, 2024 – At their June 20 meeting, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board of Directors voted to name current RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard to a third five-year term.

Dillard has served as the chairman of the RTA Board of Directors since June of 2014. Chairman Dillard and the Board oversee the nation’s second-largest public transportation system, which serves more than eight million residents in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. The Authority is charged with regional financial oversight, funding and transit planning for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace Suburban Bus and ADA Paratransit.

The RTA manages a regional transit operating budget of approximately $3.9 billion and a $5.9 billion five-year capital program. During Dillard’s first two terms, the RTA adopted and implemented two strategic plans. The first, Invest in Transit, focused on capital funding and informed Rebuild Illinois, the state’s first capital program in more than 10 years and the first to include sustainable capital funding for transit. The second strategic plan, Transit is the Answer, was adopted in February 2023 to guide the region’s transit system through post-COVID adaptations and seeks additional funding to see the system through a coming budget gap of $730 million or 20 percent of the system’s regional operating budget.

“With his history politically, his understanding of the state, the transit system, his passion, I can’t imagine anyone better suited to lead us through what’s going to be a very challenging coming several years—particularly thinking about the fiscal cliff, thinking about questions around governance and what that should look like,” said Director Christopher J. Groven, a Kane County representative on the RTA Board. “I think we’re in great hands with Chairman Dillard.”

“As a long-serving Board member, I’ve had an opportunity to see not only Chairman Dillard’s leadership, but I can contrast it to the way the RTA was before,” said Director Michael W. Lewis, a suburban Cook County representative on the RTA Board. “And as a function of his experience, his knowledge, his even-handed approach, we’ve benefited public transportation in Northeast Illinois in ways that we have never done before. I’m looking forward to making more progress over the next five years under his nonpartisan leadership, which is something that is missing all too much in today’s environment.”

“I’m happy that we re-appointed our chairman today,” said Director J.D. Ross, a Will County representative on the RTA Board. “As we talk about the reorganization of governance and the fiscal cliff pending in 2026, I can’t think of a better person to be leading this agency.”

Chairman Dillard is a lifelong resident of the region and has been a rider of public transportation for more than 50 years. He has ridden CTA buses and trains since early childhood and now is a regular Metra rider. He is a staunch advocate for transit funding throughout the region and is a recipient of the American Public Transportation Association’s “Best of the Best” award for his leadership of Chicagoland’s mass transit system.

Dillard served as a Republican senator from Chicago's western suburbs in the Illinois State Senate for nearly 20 years. Prior to serving as senator, Chairman Dillard served with distinction as Chief of Staff to former Governor Jim Edgar and as Legislative Director to former Governor James Thompson. He is currently a partner at Locke Lord LLP, one of Chicago’s oldest and largest law firms. Chairman Dillard can be followed on Twitter @KDillardRTA.

The RTA Board of Directors is a 16-member group of professionals governing the activities and initiatives of the RTA. To assure regional representation, 15 directors are appointed from within the six-county region: five by the Mayor of the City of Chicago; four by the suburban members of the Cook County Board; one by the President of the Cook County Board; and five by the Chairman of each collar county, with one representative each from DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will. The Chairman of the RTA Board, its 16th member, is elected by at least 11 of the 15 appointed members, with at least two affirmative votes from the directors who reside in the counties of DuPage, Lake, Will, Kane or McHenry.

Press Information

Melissa Meyer

Communications Manager
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