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Head of New Orleans transit authority to resign at end of year

An RTA bus outside of the Main Library.
Carly Berlin
An RTA bus outside of the Main Library.

The head of the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority will step down at the end of the year, according to a statement from the agency.

RTA CEO Alex Wiggins has led the agency for over three years. He came home to his native New Orleans for the position, after working for public transit agencies in cities across the country.

Wiggins led the RTA through the pandemic, when ridership sank to historic lows and at least three RTA employees died of COVID.

He also oversaw the agency’s first major bus system redesign since Hurricane Katrina.

Wiggins also saw pushback during his tenure. After Hurricane Ida last year, the union that represents RTA workers called for him to resign amid a dispute about emergency pay for work done during the widespread power grid failure that followed the Category 4 storm.

Wiggins told he’s stepping down to spend more time with his family.

"Thank you to the RTA Board, staff and riders for trusting me to lead our incredible staff to help build the world-class transit system New Orleanians deserve," Wiggins said in a statement, noting he was especially proud of the launch of the Canal Street Ferry between Algiers Point and Canal Street and the start of the Bus Rapid Transit Study.

The RTA board said the resignation will take effect Dec. 31. The RTA’s deputy CEO for infrastructure, Lona Hankins, will temporarily lead the agency as the board conducts a national search for a new CEO.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to include a statement from the RTA.

Carly Berlin is the New Orleans Reporter for WWNO and WRKF. She focuses on housing, transportation, and city government. Previously, she was the Gulf Coast Correspondent for Southerly, where her work focused on disaster recovery across south Louisiana during two record-breaking hurricane seasons. Much of that reporting centered on the aftermath of Hurricanes Laura and Delta in Lake Charles, and was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center.

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