WASHINGTON, D.C. – Josh Baker, General Manager of Radford Transit, was honored by the White House for his leadership in the development of the Radford Transit system during a ceremony held on Tuesday, May 13 to recognize Champions of Change for Transportation. No public transit had been available in Radford for over 30 years, a deficit that Baker has helped turn into an opportunity.
“It’s such an honor to be recognized for doing something you love,” said Baker. “I’m grateful to the White House and the Department of Transportation for considering my work with this award.”
“Radford Transit, and the team of people who make it possible, are just another example of what makes our community such a special place,” Baker added. “Radford Transit serves to enhance the lives of those within the City of Radford, Radford University and the surrounding communities. Few things in our lives have such a universal impact on each of us. Transit is one of those parts of our life so many take for granted, but few realize the effort that really goes into making it happen.”
Baker, an employee of New River Valley Community Services (NRVCS), worked with the City of Radford to apply for funding for the new transit system through the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), the state partner that works with localities to provide public transportation, rail and commuter services. DRPT has allocated $2.3 million in state and federal funding for the Radford Transit system over the next six years for operating and capital expenses, with local assistance coming in at just under $100,000. NRVCS operates and manages the Radford Transit system.
Radford Transit, which was established in 2011, has grown to provide over 325,000 annual passenger trips, connecting riders to the businesses within and throughout the community of the City of Radford, with connections to Pulaski County, Montgomery County, and the Towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg. Governor Terry McAuliffe, who attended the awards ceremony at the White House on Tuesday, stated, “Virginia’s economy relies on people being able to easily and affordably access the job opportunities that are increasingly becoming available. My administration is relentless in its pursuit of making transportation available across the Commonwealth, and Josh’s success represents the kind of innovative, determined, and collaborative thinking that makes Virginia an exemplary state for public transportation.”
Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation Director, Jennifer Mitchell, echoed the Governor’s praise of the transit program, saying, “We’re extremely pleased with the partnership we have with Radford Transit and the New River Valley Community Services that has brought Josh’s initiative to life. Our agency’s purpose is to provide the resources needed to turn these kinds of ideas into reality, and it’s a reality that benefits not only those who choose to take public transportation, but also the local economies that are served by it.”