MNTRC Newsletter Vol 19, Issue 2: Fall 2012

Board Profile: Grace Crunican

by Donna Maurillo, MNTRC Director of Communications

Grace Crunican

Grace Crunican
General Manager,
Bay Area Rapid Transit

Running a transit service for a major metropolitan area is no walk in the park. But Grace Crunican, general manager of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) service, has faced the challenges head-on. The rail transit system serves the greater San Francisco Bay area, which includes Oakland and the East Bay. BART includes operating and capital budgets totaling $1.4 billion, plus about 3,100 employees who serve about 350,000 riders each weekday with service at 44 stations in four counties. Currently, her team at BART is constructing a new station that will add service between Fremont and the Berryessa district of San Jose, a 10-mile, $2.3 billion extension, which has been long anticipated. One of her plans is to create a sense of the neighborhood at each BART stop, perhaps with color or other elements. Station maintenance and infrastructure will remain a priority, but she believes that BART can help provide a sense of community and identity.

She knows how to show the money

One of her strengths is the ability to obtain federal funding. When she was a deputy in the Federal Transit Administration in Washington, she negotiated more than $3 billion in New Start Rail Projects. She also knows how to work her way around controversial issues, which often face any agency providing a public service.

Ms. Crunican arrived in California with solid credentials in finance. As deputy director and capitol project manager for the City of Portland OR, she increased its dedicated transportation funding from 23 to 55 percent. 

She’s even worn greasepaint

She was director of Seattle’s Department of Transportation when she led the move to gain public approval for a $590 million investment in that city’s road, bridge, sidewalk, and transit facilities. She also helped with design, finance and construction of a city streetcar line that opened with 48 percent in private partnerships.

Her first paying job? She admits to having been a clown at the Portland Zoo.

MNTRC is fortunate to have Ms. Crunican serving on its Board of Trustees, especially given her experience at the federal level and with transit services.