Council confirms Pittsburgh’s first ‘mobility and infrastructure’ director
Pittsburgh City Council on Monday confirmed a former Washington transportation planner as the director of the city’s new Department of Mobility and Infrastructure.
Karina Ricks began work in February as interim department director. Her salary is $103,936 a year. The department’s annual budget is $439,643.
Ricks most recently was a partner in the San Francisco-based transportation firm Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates. Before that she served as associate director of transportation for the District of Columbia.
Mayor Bill Peduto established the department in 2016 following a study by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, which found that no city government agency had direct oversight of transportation issues. The group recommended creating the department.
Ricks will work with residents and transportation agencies to determine the best methods of improving all ways of getting around in the city, according to the mayor’s office. She will oversee new transportation projects. Her main job in 2017 is to organize the department.
Council confirmed her by 6-1 vote with Councilwoman Darlene Harris voting against the confirmation. Harris said she objected to the city paying Ricks’ transportation costs for travel back and forth to her family home in Washington.
City employees are required to live within city boundaries. Ricks, who lives in Pittsburgh, told council during a confirmation meeting last week that she has two children in school in Washington and she travels by rail each weekend to visit them. Train fare is about $60 round trip.
She said she intends to move her family to Pittsburgh after the school year ends.