Trinity Metro officials announced April 25 that Richard Andreski was selected as the agency’s next president and CEO.

Prior to Trinity Metro, Andreski had served since 2015 as bureau chief for public transportation for the Connecticut Department of Transportation. There, Andreski oversaw an operating budget of $850 million and served 80 million people annually through the Connecticut DOT’s 22 transit providers, according to a news release. Before that, he worked for NJ Transit, New Jersey’s public transportation system.

Andreski, who started his new job in June, recently shared his plans and hopes for Trinity Metro with Community Impact Newspaper. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

How has your experience best prepared you to work in North Texas?

My 23-year professional career has been in public transportation. In Connecticut, I was responsible for many of the same services we have at Trinity Metro—bus routes, commuter rail lines and paratransit services—plus bus rapid transit and freight rail. I was accountable for capital maintenance and improvement programs for $5 billion in capital assets. My 10 years of executive leadership provided a strong foundation for collaborating with business and transit partners, launching new services and aligning priorities.

How will you serve the residents as president and CEO of Trinity Metro?

Tarrant County is growing quickly, and there are no signs of a slowdown. In that growth, there is an opportunity to shape the future and ensure the quality of life here in Tarrant County, and that remains one of our key selling points. I am already impressed by the energy level and civic engagement of our city and county leaders, and from the business community and advocacy groups. In my role as CEO, I will be working closely with all of them to be sure our transit system is ready to meet the opportunities and challenges ahead for our region.

What are your biggest priorities for Trinity Metro?

My immediate priority is listening to stakeholders, especially our customers. I am riding our services and talking to riders, which has been a fun and engaging experience. Hearing their feedback directly gives me great information about how our operations align with their needs.

How does Trinity Metro plan to address Tarrant County’s rapid growth?

We have capacity to grow to meet the needs of our growing population. There are plenty of ways to serve new and existing markets, and we need to examine which options make the most sense and how we can best utilize our funding to accomplish those goals.

What are the biggest challenges Trinity Metro is facing?

One of the biggest challenges we face is funding. When you look at comparable cities and counties across the country, you can see that we are not keeping pace with investment in public transportation. Public transportation is not used by everyone, but it benefits everyone by connecting people to jobs and educational opportunities; attracting talent; reducing congestion; and ensuring everyone is able to move around with ease regardless of whether they own a vehicle.

Will Trinity Metro’s coverage increase in surrounding areas?

TEXRail offers service to Grapevine, North Richland Hills and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. Our Zipzone on-demand rideshare service serves multiple locations in Tarrant County, including Alliance, Crowley and Everman. Plus, we have Trinity Railway Express providing service between Fort Worth and Dallas. We are always open to further [expansion] into other areas.

What opportunities do you see for the Alliance and Grapevine areas?

Grapevine is a great example of the economic impact public transportation can have. TEXRail generated $105 million in transit-oriented development with Hotel Vin, Harvest Hall and the surrounding development. All of that happened because city leaders saw the importance and value of public transportation. Grapevine consistently ranks near the top for the highest ridership on TEXRail. We are also planning an electric-bus route between East Fort Worth and Alliance to help workers reach the many jobs in the Alliance area. We are working with the North Central Texas Council of Governments to develop this route as a guaranteed on-time option by using managed lanes.