Best Bureaucrat

Jeffrey ArndtMetro has gotten its fair share of grief over the past year, what with the new light rail train barreling over cars and pedestrians like a vengeance-seeking instrument of an angry god. But the fender-benders draw attention away from just what the agency has accomplished: a smooth opening of a $324 million rail line and, even trickier, the transition needed to get Main Street commuters off their buses and onto the train. And all this had to be accomplished with a Super Bowl coming to town just a month after the grand opening. Where should the credit go? A lot of it is owed to Jeffrey Arndt, Metro's senior vice president of operations. Arndt has worked in a wide range of jobs in his almost 25 years at the agency; he's excelled at both the slow-but-steady jobs like improving service for handicapped riders and the sudden disasters like dealing with Tropical Storm Allison and emptying downtown Houston on 9/11. Just because Houston drivers can't see large trains doesn't mean that Arndt hasn't had a good year in a largely thankless job.

 
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