Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director
Joe directs the regional business community’s leadership and advocacy efforts on transportation issues, policy, and strategy. Joe and the RTA unite the regional business community and connect the public and private sectors to accelerate transportation solutions essential for economic success.
Under Joe’s leadership as RTA executive director since 2002, the RTA has successfully advocated for the construction, enhancement, and advancement of more than 250 miles of freeway worth more than $3 billion, three successful countywide transit referenda, a new statewide low-cost mobility fund, and the launch of a new transatlantic flight.
Joe’s primary roles and focuses with RTA are to:
- Advance the business community’s transportation priorities and drive the regional agenda forward, in concert with more than 100 RTA member companies and more than 20 member chambers of commerce
- Direct the voice of the organized regional business community on transportation issues and priorities through the purposeful development and deployment of RTA strategy and policy, and
- Engage elected and transportation officials at the local, regional, state, and federal level, as well as civic, business, and media organizations
The RTA has spearheaded a range of vital transportation improvements essential to business success in the Raleigh-Durham-Cary-Chapel Hill market and environs, including:
- Accelerated the construction of the 15 mile, $1 billion Triangle Expressway freeway, North Carolina’s largest-ever highway project, the state’s first modern toll road, and the most advanced turnpike in the United States, with travel times around 40% faster than the parallel roadway
- Saved the extension of the 30 mile, $2 billion Triangle Expressway southeast extension freeway. The first contract was signed in December 2018. When open in 2023, the 540 extension will create a 70 MPH freeway bypass around Raleigh and an alternate to Interstate 40
- Elevated a scalable, bus rapid transit-based approach as a viable option for improving transit in Wake County, and leading to the inclusion of 20 miles of bus rapid transit in four corridors in a revised Wake Transit plan approved in 2016 and currently being implemented by the city of Raleigh
- Led the media and communications strategy for the successful 2016 Wake County transit sales tax referendum campaign, creating dedicated, local funding for a ten year, $2 billion transit plan approved by voters in November 2016
- Pushed the successful two-state campaign for Congressional authorization for the Interstate 87 corridor between Raleigh and coastal Virginia,
- Initiated and directed a successful regional campaign to advance new Interstate 495, the first direct interstate connection from Raleigh to the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern states – now being superseded by the I-87 initiative.
- Catalyzed and successfully promoted the accelerated widening of I-40 between Cary and Raleigh, unclogging what had previously been the region’s most severe traffic bottleneck, reducing travel time variability by 70%, and providing 30% faster travel times
- Coordinated the creation of North Carolina’s first “Bus on Shoulder System (BOSS)” along I-40 to reduce transit travel times between Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh, now including 60 shoulder miles as one of the largest BOSS systems in the United States
- Launched the Air Service Advancement Project (ASAP) private sector marketing initiative to help secure a new nonstop flight from Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) to Paris in 2016
- Supported successful referenda in both Durham and Orange counties to fund improved regional transit options in the western Triangle
- Garnered regional support for the new I-885 linkage to Research Triangle Park, now under construction, by rebranding the roadway as the “Triangle Connector to I-85”
- Advanced the conversion of US 70 to a freeway between Durham and Raleigh — including securing the funding for the first interchange at Brier Creek Parkway — with more than 50% of the corridor between I-540 and future I-885 now fully funded
- Successfully requested speed limit increases for more than 80 miles of freeway in North Carolina.
Joe has guided the RTA to exponential growth, with the coalition now including more than 125 of the leading businesses, universities, and transportation partners across our market. The number of major investors ($5,000 annually and higher) has doubled to 30+ companies since 2013, and the RTA now includes more than 20 member chambers of commerce across central North Carolina.
Joe holds master’s degrees in both business management and civil engineering from North Carolina State University and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He has been a licensed professional engineer in North Carolina for more than 20 years, and a registered lobbyist in North Carolina for more than 15 years.
Joe serves on the Rethinking Southern Cities regional initiative council for the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Carolinas district, and the Transportation Committee for the ULI Triangle chapter.
He served as a member of The Conference Table, an advisory committee for the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, and is a past board member of the Triangle Advertising Federation (“Triangle AdFed”, an affiliated club of the American Advertising Federation/AAF).
He has served on the strategic initiatives council of the NC Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and was previously recognized as the young professional of the year for NCSITE.
Joe was a past chair of the Young Executives Forum of NC Citizens for Business and Industry (the predecessor to the NC Chamber of Commerce) and a founding member of MBA Alumni Board at NC State University.
Joe and his wife, Claire, have three children and live in Cary. Joe served as the chair of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic School Advisory Council in Cary from 2015 to 2017, serving a parish of approximately 15,000 members.
Natalie Griffith Ridout
RTA Senior Marketing and Policy Manager
Natalie serves as the Senior Marketing and Policy Manager of the Regional Transportation Alliance business coalition. She coordinates organization management and engagement through communication, marketing, and membership and community outreach.
Natalie works to effectively demonstrate RTA’s mission, objectives, and accomplishments which allow RTA to fully engage stakeholders and provide valuable opportunities for the regional business community. She has helped coordinate meetings with transportation professionals from across the country, as well as state and federal leaders and elected officials to advance transportation in the Triangle.
Natalie is a graduate of the 31st Leadership Raleigh class of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.
Natalie has been a member of the RTA staff since 2011, and previously served as RTA Marketing and Policy Manager and RTA Operations Manager. She is a graduate of N.C. State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, and is currently pursuing a Master of Professional Studies in Community and Economic Development at Penn State.
Natalie remains focused on enhancing RTA program awareness, involvement, and success in order to help progress transportation in our region.
Contact Natalie at 919.664-7062 or firstname.lastname@example.org