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November 17, 2008

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News Headlines

Bill Hurd Dies; Transit Leader, APTA Hall of Fame Member

William H. (Bill) Hurd, a longtime former chairman of the Alexandria Transit Company (DASH) Board of Directors in Alexandria, VA, and a member of the APTA Hall of Fame, died Oct. 25 at the age of 93. Hurd retired from the DASH board in 2006.

Even before the creation of the DASH system in 1984, Hurd was a transit leader in Alexandria. He chaired the city’s Transitional Task Force and led the city into the reality of planning and operating a fledging bus system, created to be responsive to local needs and to meet certain community objectives.

Hurd served 23 years as chairman of the DASH system; during his tenure, the agency received the APTA Outstanding Achievement Award for small transit agencies only three years after it began operation. APTA named Hurd to its Hall of Fame in 1988, and he received the Virginia Transit Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

“Hurd instilled this public service mentality in all of us who worked for him,” said ATC General Manager Sandy Modell. “Hurd was a mentor to many in the transit industry. He touched our hearts. To this day, there are transit managers and professionals who remember Mr. Hurd as the role model for how to operate our business, lead people, deal with political forces—in short, how to be the best public servant you can be.”

Before he became active in local and statewide transit programs in Virginia, Hurd was a federal employee from 1938 until his retirement in 1972. When the Housing Act of 1961 included transportation funding for capital loan programs and demonstration projects, he became one of the first employees of the newly created Office of Transportation, the predecessor to the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) and, later, the Federal Transit Administration. As such, he was instrumental in the establishment of a number of federal transit programs; for the last 10 years before retiring from federal service, he was associate administrator of UMTA. Hurd played an integral part in the birth and development of the federal public transportation program in the United States.

His professional career includes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as the U.S. Departments of Interior, Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Housing and Home Finance Agency.

“Mr. Hurd’s legacy lies in the hundreds of millions of dollars of transit improvements—buses, railcars, and facilities which are a direct result of his administration of funding programs during the critical, formative years of UMTA and its predecessors,” Reba Malone, a past APTA chair, said at the Hall of Fame ceremony in 1988.

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