Former General Manager Ron Tober named to APTA Hall of Fame

Ronald J. Tober, former RTA General Manager, was inducted today into the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Hall of Fame at the group's Annual Meeting.

Oct 14, 2014

CLEVELAND – Ronald J. Tober, former General Manager of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) was inducted today into the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Hall of Fame at the group's Annual Meeting & Expo in Houston.

Tober is the fifth Cleveland general manager to be named to the APTA Hall of Fame, making Cleveland the foremost city to be home to the APTA honorees. The APTA Hall of Fame is reserved for those individuals who have long and distinguished careers in the industry and have made extraordinary contributions to public transportation.

“I am thrilled to be among the four other general managers from Cleveland to receive such an honor,” said Tober.  “Walter J. McCarter, Donald Hyde, Robert Pollock and Leonard Ronis were all named to the APTA Hall of Fame and served with distinction as RTA’s General Managers. Together, we can be proud to have played our part in building the outstanding transit system we have in Cleveland today.”

Tober's achievements

A native of Lakewood, Tober graduated from Lakewood High School in 1965. He served as RTA General Manager for 11 years, from 1988-1999. He was responsible for the construction of the Waterfront Line, an extension of the light rail system. It became the first rail service extension since 1968. Serving the Flats and the North Coast, this fast-tracked project was completed in time for the celebration of the city’s Bicentennial. Other many major construction projects included the Walkway to Gateway, which connects Tower City to what is now known as Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field. It was renamed in his honor in 1999.

Tober envisioned and launched planning for Cleveland’s BRT project, now known as the HealthLine, which is recognized as the most successful application of BRT in the US. Tober also initiated RTA’s compliance with the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA), rebuilding key rail stations throughout Cleveland’s Rapid Transit system.

Since leaving RTA, Tober served as CEO of the Charlotte Area Transit System until 2007. Currently with Parsons Brinckerhoff, he handles major project planning for several transit agencies in the U.S.

Ron Tober has worked for 45 years in transportation as an exceptional planner, manager and chief executive,” says RTA Board President George F. Dixon III. “He is dedicated, focused, hard-working and well-respected throughout the industry as a champion of public transportation.

Tober began his transit career right out of engineering school in 1969 in his hometown of Cleveland, studying the first rail line serving a US airport. From there, he led transit agencies in Miami, Boston, Seattle, Cleveland and Charlotte.

In Seattle, he guided the planning, design and funding of the downtown transit tunnel, which employs dual-power bus technology, a first of its kind in the US. It uses both hybrid buses and light rail vehicles. He later oversaw the startup of Charlotte’s first light rail line, the South Corridor Light Rail project.

Many honors

  • 1999 Executive-of-the-Year, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), for promoting the growth and development of women and minorities in the transit industry.
  • 1999, Top Transit Executives Award, from the City of Charlotte.
  • 2007, North Carolina Governor’s Award, for outstanding service to public transportation.
  • 2005, Outstanding Public Transportation Manager, from APTA.
  • 2008, inducted into the North Carolina Transportation Hall of Fame.

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