CARTA receives new board members through 2028
Eight new members appointed by Mayor Tim Kelly look to advance public transportation among city growth
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — The Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority is looking to “drive” its city transit forward.
Some of CARTA’s newest board members received a round of applause after having their appointments confirmed by the city council Tuesday.
In a press release, Mayor Kelly said that “these new appointments come at a pivotal time” as Chattanooga grows on and says a “strong, integrated public transit system” has become “increasingly critical” for the community.
Chattanooga Chief of Staff Joda Thongnopnua is confident new perspectives from new members will lead to new successes in the Scenic City.
“We have a really stellar group of folks who have the life experience and the vision to make sure that CARTA is going to be a strong public transit system for a city that is growing that can really be One Chattanooga,” Thongnopnua said.
Thongnopnua says the city could one day see more public buses and micro-mobility devices, and potentially “some form of rail service” — all to be spearheaded by CARTA.
Former Volkswagen COO, now board member, Johan de Nysschen says it’s also CARTA’s job to make sure everyone can ride as transit evolves.
“There has been systemic generations of members of our community who have not been able to avail themselves of all of the opportunities,” de Nysschen said. “One of the big barriers is access to transportation and mobility.”
Both men say equity is key in assuring CARTA grows alongside its city.
Additionally, both say neighbors in surrounding communities are also being prioritized moving forward.
“We need to look at making sure that CARTA also fulfills its role of being a regional service, as opposed to very much a city-bound service,” de Nysschen said.
“The ‘R’ in CARTA stands for regional,” Thongnopnua said. “That is a huge part of CARTA’s mission, and we look forward to engaging our partners in Hamilton County, but also the surrounding municipalities to talk with them about what CARTA can be doing to better serve their residents too.”
CARTA’s Board of Directors is 11 members strong — now consisting of two veteran members, one reappointed member, and eight brand new members.
Further regarding the expansion and engagement of surrounding communities, de Nysschen says this is something he believes “weighs heavily” on the minds of those he now serves with.