From WILL - News Local/State -

New MTD Director Faces Multiple Challenges

The next managing director of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District says his move to head up the agency a year from now is the first in a series of transitions.

Karl Gnadt said current director Bill Volk’s retirement is first among five or six key retirements the next few years. In addition to filling those positions, his long-term goals include reaching out to external entities and stakeholders.

“That might include people of a political persuasion, it might include people in a certain neighborhood," he said.  "There are a couple different ways that it manifests itself.  I’m not naïve enough to think that everybody in the community is thrilled with the district.”

Gnadt said these connections should come before determining other areas to annex for service.  

He said there are funding challenges both internally and externally, including an expected $500,000 dollar increase in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.  He said that will require a balance with continuing service, and expansion of it.

Gnadt also wants a more stable structure for downstate transit assistance.

"We're seeing some challenges with the downstate operating assistance program through IDOT," he said.  "I want to work diligently on re-establishing a more stable structure for the downstate operating program, benefiting not only Champaign-Urbana, but all the other downstate cities that have transit systems."

He’s been with the MTD since 1995, currently serving as director of market development. The transit district board approved Gnadt as the next managing director Wednesday.

He starts in the job next July 1, and will earn $135,000 a year.