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New Bi-State CEO pledges to improve security on Metro Transit

Dec. 21, 2018, Bi-State Development names new Presdient and CEO Taulby Roach
Melody Walker|St. Louis Public Radio
Taulby Roach, Bi-State's new president and CEO, addresses a news conference as his family, his predecessor John Nations and Bi-State Board chair Constance Gully look on.

Bi-State Development named Taulby Roach as its next president and CEO today. Roach will take office Jan. 1, 2019, replacing John Nations, who is stepping down after eight years to return to private law practice. Roach has worked closely with Bi-State for more than 20 years on a variety of Metro Transit capital projects in St. Clair County.

At a crowded news conference at the Bi-State headquarters in downtown St. Louis, Roach said that he plans to change the organization’s focus.

“Bi-State is more than just Metro, but during my leadership, I hope to pivot and bring a little added attention to Metro right now,” he said.

Roach lives in St. Louis and is a frequent Metro Transit rider. For the past year and a half, he has served as the chief financial officer at St. Clair County Transit District. He also has been involved in the River Bridge District infrastructure project in East St. Louis, among others, as a consultant.

Ridership on MetroBus and MetroLink trains has dropped more than 20 percent over the past five years, according to data provided by Bi-State.

A recent report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch indicated that crime has actually declined on the transit system, but there is a perception among riders that it is not safe.

Roach said his top three priorities when he takes the helm as operator of Metro are: "Security, security, security.”

“We have to restore the confidence of the public,” Roach said.

Next month, theEast-West Gateway Council of Governments is expected to release a study on MetroLink security. Roach hopes to use that as a guide for new deployment plans of police and security-officer patrols. Roach said previews of recommendations from the study call for some type of controlled access system at station entrances and increased ticket checks on the trains.

“Metro was designed in the 1980s. We’re in a different era now,” Roach said. “We, as an organization, have to change as society changes and make those adjustments, whether it be security or everyday customer interaction.”

Chair of the Board of Commissioners for Bi-State, Constance Gully, said, “Taulby has nearly three decades of combined experience in real estate, transportation, public policy, infrastructure and development. We are excited he is bringing his expertise and leadership to this dynamic organization, which is already a well-oiled machine.”

In addition to the Metro Transit system, Bi-State Development operates the St. Louis Regional Freightway, the Bi-State Development Research Institute, the St. Louis Downtown Airport in Sauget and the Arch riverfront ticket, tram and riverboat operations.

Follow Melody on Twitter: @MelodyBird