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GRTC board expands as longtime members depart

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GRTC honors previous Board of Directors

Richmond City Councilman Andreas Addison (from left), GRTC Interim CEO Sheryl Adams, former CEO Eldridge Coles and Henrico County Supervisor Tyrone Nelson were present as Coles was honored with a plaque after attending his last meeting as a member of GRTC’s Board of Directors. Coles joined the agency as a bus operator in 1967.

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Henrico County residents now have a say in the region’s public transportation operations.

The GRTC Transit System board on Tuesday expanded to include three representatives from the county.

Tyrone Nelson and Dan Schmitt, who also serve on the Henrico County Board, and Todd Eure, Henrico’s assistant director of transportation and development, were named GRTC directors.

The GRTC board had been made up of three members each from Richmond and Chesterfield, which own the bus operator. Henrico officials, however, argued its county is on track to become the largest funding source for the agency and should have input on operations.

The change to a nine-member panel was approved in March.

Chesterfield will be represented by county supervisors Jim Ingle, Barb Smith and Dave Anderson.

Richmond will be represented by city Chief Administrative Officer Lincoln Saunders and City Council members Andreas Addison of the 1st District and Ellen Roberson of the 6th District.

Nelson also was appointed chairman of the GRTC board, and Addison was named vice chairman.

“Most of the people at this table have worked together before on other boards in the region,” said Nelson. “I think we’re going to continue to do good things. I’m excited about what we can do.”

The agency was founded in 1860 and has about 157 transit vehicles.

Nelson said his priorities include keeping the system fare-free and finding a new CEO. Julie Timm, who became CEO in 2019, was named head of the transit system in the Seattle area in June.

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“I don’t want to speak for the board and their future decisions, but some of these things have been working well, and I hope that we can continue to move forward with what’s working well,” Nelson said.

Officials said they’ve lost a wealth with the change, with the departure of board members Ben Campbell, Daniel Smith, Gary Armstrong and Eldridge Coles.

“The service of those who’ve preceded all of us in this transition is invaluable,” Addison said.

Each was honored via a resolution passed by the board on Tuesday. Coles in particular was recognized with a standing ovation for his years of service to GRTC.

Coles joined the agency as a bus operator in 1967 and served as CEO from 2010 to 2013.

“I’ve reached heights I’ve never thought that I’d reach, but I think the board is good hands now,” Coles said.

Said Addison: “We’re going to miss them, but we have some incredible people on the board now. I’m excited to work with this group.”

LGerman@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6340

Twitter: @Lyndon__G

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