Move at Metro

Local gay man appointed by Obama administration

by Yusef Najafi
Published on February 3, 2010, 10:48pm | Comments

Marcel Acosta, a gay Washingtonian, has been appointed to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA, aka Metro) board of directors.

The board has equally represented D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Now, due to legislation ensuring $1.5 billion in funds allocated by the federal government for Metro safety over the next decade, the Fed is taking its seats at the table: two directors and two alternates. That's 16 in all, with two directors and two alternates from each of the four entities.

Acosta, executive director of the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), was sworn in Jan. 28 as an alternate member.

''That means I'm a non-voting member on the board,'' he says, ''but as a board member I would be able to vote in committee and also participate in the discussions prior to a vote.''

Two federal seats still await appointments.

Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who is also gay, serves on the board as a director representing D.C.

Acosta, originally from California's Bay Area, is a familiar face in the local LGBT community. He is an active member of the DC Front Runners, an LGBT running/walking group. And as a hobby, Acosta is also the web designer for the Front Runners and the DC Aquatic Club.

Before working at NCPC, Acosta was the senior vice president of the Chicago Transit Authority. There he developed programs to ''increase ridership and reduce operating costs,'' according to WMATA.

Prior to that, Acosta earned his master's degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also a 2001 Loeb fellow of Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.

''I intend to work with the board over time to ensure that we run the safest, most customer-friendly service possible to meet the needs of 1.5 million riders a day.''