UTA President Michael Allegra Retires With Mixed Legacy
After decades of working for the company, Utah Transit Authority President Michael Allegra retired on Friday.
During his nearly 40 years at UTA, Allegra held many positions including manager of planning and research and director of transit development. In 2010 UTA’s board appointed him general manager. As he heads in to retirement Allegra wants to be remembered for many things including the important role he played in helping to expand TRAX and FrontRunner service to much of the Wasatch Front.
“I think I’ve left a great foundation," Allegra says. "You can’t build upon something that’s unstable and I think the Utah Transit Authority has become an integral part of the fabric of this community. We are no longer an entity that just moves people from point A to point B. We are a company that is helping grow the Wasatch Front.”
But Allegra’s tenure at UTA wasn’t without controversy. As general manager he faced harsh criticism from the media and from multiple legislative audits over UTA’s handling of several transit oriented development projects. He also received criticism for his compensation and the extra benefits executives at the organization received. But Allegra says those concerns are a part of aggressive and assertive expansion and that UTA’s board has done a great job addressing them.
“We appreciate the concern and have dealt with it very well, in my opinion, professionally and appropriately and have responded appropriately," he says. "It’s not like we’ve ignored those concerns. We’ve done a yeoman’s job in being appropriate with the public funds.”
While Allegra is officially retiring, he’ll remain a senior advisor to the chair of the board of trustees through March of 2016. Vice President of Operations Jerry Benson will serve as interim general manager until a permanent replacement is hired.