Kinsey nabs contract to redesign city transit hub

12/01/2016

Supervisor Steve Kinsey nabbed his first post-supervisor job, to start right after he leaves office: a $50,000 contract with the city of San Rafael to help reconfigure the downtown bus transit hub, which will be disrupted by construction of the SMART train. “I guess I like complex problems,” said Mr. Kinsey, who served for 20 years as West Marin’s representative to the Board of Supervisors. SMART is now finishing the first stage of construction, from the Sonoma Airport to San Rafael, but the next phase will link San Rafael to Larkspur. Since the train will utilize an old rail right-of-way that runs right through San Rafael’s bus hub, the site will need to be reconfigured or relocated a few blocks north, according to a city staff report. Mr. Kinsey, whom the report said will help with strategic planning, financing strategy and project assistance, said his mix of government service, particularly on transportation projects, as well as his previous career as an architect makes him uniquely qualified for the job. He worked on the 2004 sales tax to fund public transit, and located funds to start the West Marin Stagecoach while on the Marin Transit board. He also sat on the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for a number of years. Mr. Kinsey said the city approached him for the contract, not vice versa. “I wasn’t planning to jump in the day I jumped out, but they see it as an imminent challenge,” he said. The contract is for one year, though the project will likely take several years. In a recent Marin Independent-Journal column, Mr. Kinsey fielded some criticism over the contract, which the author called an example of the revolving door of politics. But Mr. Kinsey defended himself: whereas some public officials cash out in the private sector after leaving office, he chose to work for another public agency. He said he asked the Fair Political Practices Commission whether there was any conflict of interest in accepting the contract, and was told that there is none. As to whether more transportation work lies in his future, he said, “I think it will be a piece of what I do.” He also hopes to work on issues of affordable housing and social justice, for which he says he has a personal passion. “I’m going to continue to work on equity issues,” he said. And Mr. Kinsey wants to relax a little bit, including spending time with his children and grandchildren. “I intend to have a fulfilling life. More time at the beach,” he said.