The Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority (CIRTA) board of directors has hired as its new executive director, a native Hoosier who, in his 25-year career, has secured funding, built, and managed three major-city Florida transit systems. In his new role, Jeffrey D. Jackson will lead CIRTA’s efforts to expand and improve mass transit in Central Indiana.
Jackson, who started Nov. 15, joined Tri-Rail in Ft. Lauderdale in 1990 as manager of planning and, in eight years, worked his way up to interim executive director. He was one of five final candidates for the executive director position when he was presented with the opportunity to join the private sector. Over the last 15 years Jackson has worked in Durango, Colo., as the chief operating officer of American Heritage Railways, which is the parent company for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, and Rail Events, Inc.
“Jeff has exactly what the search committee was looking for: legislative and transit planning experience,” said CIRTA board chair and Hamilton County Commissioner Christine Altman. “He’s worked successfully with state legislatures and secured funding from the federal government, and he understands the complexities facing growing cities because he’s worked in the Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami urbanized areas.”
Jackson graduated with a bachelor of arts from Indiana University, where he studied urban affairs with a concentration in transportation/mass transit management. One of his professors was Dr. George Smerk, who’s considered a national authority on transportation planning. While at IU, Jackson worked for Bloomington Transit and the Brevard Transportation Authority in Melbourne, Fla.
“Central Indiana is a growing and vibrant community and has made great advancements in recent years,” said Jackson. “It’s time to take the next step in terms of having a complete, world-class transportation system. I want to return to Indiana and the public sector so I can give something back to my home state’s capital city and be closer to my family.”
Jackson grew up in Connersville, and his mother and five sisters still live in Central Indiana. He will move here with his wife and daughter. He has a son who is a freshman in college.
CIRTA is one of three lead partners in Indy Connect, a unique and comprehensive transportation plan and process that defines the future multimodal network of transportation alternatives for Central Indiana.
In addition, CIRTA’s eight employees oversee the Commuter Connect regional rideshare program, which has increased active participation in carpools by 20 percent and grown vanpools by 200 percent in the two years since CIRTA began managing the program.
CIRTA operates four commuter services, the Indy Express Bus between Carmel and downtown, Indy Express Bus between Fishers and downtown, the West Carmel Connector, and the Plainfield Connector. The Plainfield and West Carmel connectors provide service for people working in Plainfield and West Carmel from IndyGo’s termination points.
CIRTA is governed by a 17-member board of directors who represent 10 counties in the region, as well as municipalities, the Indianapolis Regional Transportation Council, and the labor organization for IndyGo employees.