OAKLAND, Calif. (BCN) - BART General Manager Grace Crunican announced Thursday that she will be leaving her job this summer after eight years leading the transit agency.
At the end of Thursday's BART Board of Directors meeting, Crunican read an announcement saying she'll retire on July 6, but didn't explain why she's leaving or what her future plans might be.
"This announcement has inspired many conflicted emotions, as you can imagine," Crunican said. "Working closely with you, we have put in place essential elements which will help the agency to thrive in the next decade."
She mentioned many projects, including the replacement of the entire rail car fleet and the train control system, as well as "billions in other infrastructure components" and the agency's focus on building
affordable housing on BART property.
Crunican was previously the director of the Seattle Department of Transportation, the director of the Oregon Department of Transportation and the deputy administrator for the Federal Transit Administration.
The announcement caught BART board members off guard but they praised her for being a strong leader and a "straight talker."
"This is a big surprise to us but at the same time you've served this district with tremendous distinction and worked incurably hard," said BART Board President Bevan Dufty.
"Leading a transit agency is one of the most difficult jobs anywhere because our federal policies don't really provide the resources to run the type of system that our customers deserve. You're always trying to make it work somehow," Dufty said.
Board members did not discuss when they might start looking for Crunican's replacement.
This is the second high-profile departure announcement from BART this month. On April 2, Police Chief Carlos Rojas announced he'd be retiring on May 6.