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Transit Director Stepping Down in August

Successfully led department through ART project improvements, instrumental in recouping $75 million from federal government, implemented raises for bus drivers.

July 26, 2019

City of Albuquerque Transit Director Bernie Toon is stepping down from his position at the end of August.

Mayor Tim Keller said, “Bernie might have had one of the toughest jobs in City Hall, seeing our community through the challenges of ART implementation, helping recoup $75 million from the federal government and getting our bus drivers well-deserved raises. From rebuilding physical platforms to securing a fleet of specialized buses that could function in the corridor, Bernie’s talents were put to the test every day. We appreciate his leadership through these critical times for our city.”

Before leading the Transit Department, Toon was already familiar with New Mexico, having served as former Senator Jeff Bingaman’s Chief of Staff. In that job, he worked on preserving public lands in New Mexico, expanding dental and health care to underserved New Mexicans, and fighting on behalf of the State’s national labs and military facilities. 

Toon has extensive experience working with the federal government, having served as Chief of Staff to three other U.S. Senators, most notably with Sen. Bill Bradley, D-New Jersey and Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Delaware. He also served on the staffs of Sen. Dick Luger and Rep. Tim Roemer, both from Indiana, and as a Senior Professional Staff Member on two Congressional oversight committees.

In his Transit Director role, Toon applied his extensive knowledge and contacts within the federal government to help Albuquerque secure $75 million toward the ART project in August 2018.

“I would like to thank both Mayor Keller and First Lady Kistin Keller for the opportunity to serve in their administration. It was truly the opportunity of a lifetime, and I appreciate their kindness and consideration,” Bernie Toon stated. “I also would like to thank Lawrence Rael and the people at ABQ RIDE for their patience and deep experience. They will continue to serve this administration well, and I cannot thank them enough for their dedication and commitment to the business at hand. I will miss you, one and all.”

Santiago Chavez, who currently holds the Chief of Staff position in the Mayor’s office, will be assigned to oversee the transition at the Transit Department.