Celebrating the life of Gregory T. Winterbottom, the MSRC’s Longest-Serving Member

The MSRC is sad to announce that MSRC Member and former Chair Greg Winterbottom passed away on June 26, at the age of 73. Greg was the longest-serving MSRC member representing the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) for more than 21 years. During his tenure, he led the MSRC for four terms as Chair of the Committee, and served as Vice Chair for three years. Greg also was the longest-serving Board Member of the OCTA, joining as a public member in 1994.

Greg was born in Philadelphia before moving to California with his family when he was just a year old. He attended North Torrance High School, where he played football all four years.  Following high school, Greg enlisted in the U.S. Army at the age of 17, serving in Vietnam.

He grew up an old car buff, but never had much interest in transportation issues until the early 1980s when he went to work for a state senator intent on tackling transportation challenges facing Southern California. Greg became a Senior Consultant to the Select Committee on Southern California Transportation Problems. Following his work with the California Senate, he served as executive director for the Orange County Consolidated Transportation Services Agency (CTSA), an agency that provided paratransit service to persons with disabilities and the elderly. In the early 90s, the Orange County CTSA was consolidated into OCTA.

Greg, who used a wheelchair himself for more than 50 years, championed projects and programs designed to ensure everyone has equal access to both transportation and public spaces. He worked tirelessly to provide transportation equality for all, long before the Americans with Disabilities Act became law, leaving an immeasurable impact on Orange County and Southern California. He worked for many years as an independent consultant on accessibility issues for persons with disabilities. 

He pioneered the Dial-A-Lift program to provide door-to-door transportation for wheelchair users and the elderly and managed the Comprehensive Transportation Service Agency to provide empathetic, cost-effective transportation services for individuals with disabilities. These programs paved the way for OCTA’s ACCESS paratransit service, which records nearly 1.4 million boardings by eligible Orange County residents each year.

As a past chairman of the MSRC and throughout his tenure as a committee member, Greg advocated for innovative and expansive programs that would provide tangible benefits to people throughout Southern California. He championed MSRC funded initiatives that provided real air quality benefits to local residents like the OC Fair Express and Dodger Stadium Express services, rideshare programs and investments in clean trucks and infrastructure programs like the electrification of Frito Lay delivery trucks that he announced at an MSRC press conference with Governor Brown several years ago (see photo).

Greg and I served together both on the MSRC and on the Metrolink Board of Directors,” MSRC Chair Larry McCallon said. “He exhibited a spirit of optimism and passion, always putting 100 percent of himself into serving others. We became good friends, and I will miss him very much.”

Greg extolled the collaborative approach the Committee always takes in funding clean air projects and noted during one of his numerous interviews about the MSRC, “What we do best is clean up the air.  It would be 100 percent worse if the various air agencies hadn’t made a collective effort.”

Greg Winterbottom exemplified the values and tenacity of the MSRC to collaborate with local, regional and state governments and agencies to implement innovative and effective measures to improve our air quality and accelerate clean transportation solutions that ultimately benefitted tens of millions of Southern California residents. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy will continue to live on through the MSRC.