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August 11, 2022

Santa Cruz METRO announces new CEO

SANTA CRUZ—The Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District (METRO) on Friday announced it has named Michael Tree its new CEO/General Manager.

Tree has nearly three decades of experience in the public transit industry and city management, most recently as Executive Director of the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority, where he focused on increasing transportation options and improving ease of use and rider connectivity.

Tree was also the Executive Director for the Tri-Valley–San Joaquin Valley Regional Rail Authority. This new rail authority was created to deliver the Valley Link commuter rail project, a 42-mile, seven-station project. 

“We’re excited by his extensive expertise and knowledge of public transit as well as his proven track record in increasing connectivity for the public,” METRO Board Chair Larry Pageler said in a press release. “We look forward to Michael expanding our zero-emissions bus plan so METRO can continue to reduce our emissions and our impact on the environment.”

Former CEO Alex Clifford announced his departure in November.

Tree was named Transit Manager of the Year by both the California Association for Coordinated Transportation and the California Transit Association.

He holds a master’s degree in transportation management from San Jose State University and a bachelor’s degree in business management from Brigham Young University.  

“I’m excited to lead Santa Cruz METRO into its next chapter,” he said. “The future holds opportunity for METRO to improve the quality of life for residents through better connectivity, especially for those who are disadvantaged.”

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