Tom Wright is president and chief executive officer of Regional Plan Association (RPA), the nation’s oldest independent metropolitan research, planning and advocacy organization. A private, non-profit corporation, RPA improves the prosperity, infrastructure, sustainability, health and quality of life of the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan region by researching and preparing long-range plans and advocating for their implementation.

As president, Tom led the production of RPA’s landmark Fourth Regional Plan, released in 2017, which proposed 61 recommendations to reform public institutions; modernize transportation systems; tackle the challenge of climate change; and provide affordable and livable communities for all the region’s residents. RPA is now working to implement the major ideas in the plan, such as charging all drivers to enter the Manhattan CBD; cutting carbon emissions and scaling up renewable energy sources; creating healthy, affordable housing in every community; modernizing the NYC subways; and building a new commuter rail tunnel under the Hudson River connected to a renovated and expanded Penn Station.

Tom is a frequent public speaker and commentator on regional governance, economic growth and development, transit investments, and other policy issues. Prior to being named RPA’s president in 2015, Tom was RPA’s executive director. In his 20+ years with the organization, Tom has participated in many key RPA initiatives, including the historic Civic Alliance to Rebuild Downtown New York following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks; the campaign to create a mixed-use district at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards; the protection of the New Jersey Highlands; a vision plan for the City of Newark and The Constant Future, a public exhibition in Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall which celebrated RPA’s Centennial. Tom was also in charge of producing A Region at Risk, RPA’s third plan published in 1996.

Previously, Tom was deputy executive director of the 2001 New Jersey Office of State Planning, where he coordinated production of the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

In January, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy appointed Tom as the Chairman of the New Jersey State Planning Commission. A visiting lecturer at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Tom has a master’s in urban planning from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in history and a certificate in American Studies from Princeton University.