The Hall of Fame Inductee for 2023 is Elizabeth “Liz” Stutts. Liz has demonstrated a long-term leadership role in advocating for public transportation issues here in Florida.
In 2019, Liz was promoted to the position of Manager of the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT’s) Public Transportation Office. Prior to her appointment to this position, Liz was the Department’s Grant Programs Administrator for over 20 years and began her career at FDOT as Commuter Services Program Manager in 1993.
Liz served as the FDOT chief advisor for Transit and Transportation Disadvantaged issues and spearheaded the Department’s efforts to increase and coordinate transit funding between the various federal and state programs. She has worked directly with nearly every transit agency and Community Transportation Coordinator to support and help improve services to Florida’s communities.
Liz worked tirelessly with her fellow FDOT employees to accomplish many innovative projects and ideas. Some of the many accomplishments that Liz was involved with at FDOT’s Central Office include:
- Funding multiple functional, as well as, research-oriented transit programs within CUTR, utilizing it as an extension of FDOT and transit agency staff in some cases, and thereby helping it to grow to be the premier transit focused university program in the nation.
- Supporting staff’s development and management of Florida’s Transit Research, Inspection, Procurement Services (TRIPS) program, helping transit agencies to acquire thousands of safer, better designed and constructed paratransit and transit vehicles, with simplified procurement processes, and at lower costs.
- Providing discretionary state match for transit agency projects and programs to the limits of state law, including ½ of the nonfederal share of most FTA grants awarded in the state.
- Providing financial sponsorship and staff support every year for the FPTA Annual Conference, Professional Development Workshop, and the Bus and Paratransit Roadeos.
- Representing FDOT and transit interests on the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged for 23 years and the FPTA Board as an Ex-Officio for four years.
- Allocating state funding for innovative transit technology programs and projects across the state, including automated vehicle pilots, transit modeling tools, transit planning, marketing, operations, commuter assistance and other statewide networks for transit and local agency personnel.
Liz has 30 years of experience in the transportation industry here in Florida and has strongly supported and advocated for public transportation over that time. One of her main focuses has always been the improvement of training and resources for transit systems across our state. She was also successful in promoting the benefits of coordination of all resources. She has exhibited an intense interest in improving the accessibility of transportation services, especially in the rural areas of Florida. Her leadership skills are well known and span all aspects of research, training, and advocacy.
Liz always sought innovative solutions to advance transit systems and help address barriers or challenges. She helped to lead the annual training programs in each FDOT district ensuring that FDOT staff across the state could best assist their transit agencies, and teaching grantee staff the requirements and process for preparing grant applications and for managing their programs in accordance with Federal and State laws and rules.
Liz has demonstrated persistence and advocacy for the needs of public transportation and transportation disadvantaged customers through her extraordinary service over the last 30 years. Her ability to advocate and act independently has made her a true asset to transportation systems and CTCs across the state.
Liz is an individual of character and has truly promoted the benefits of public transportation while exhibited a desire to improve the accessibility of transportation services across Florida. Liz has been a true supporter of public transit at every level in her career, with a special focus on rural areas to make sure they are not forgotten. Her advocacy efforts have been a true inspiration for those of us that have had the privilege to know her.