Council members & districts

Charlie Zelle

Metropolitan Council Chair  |  


Charles A. Zelle is chairman of Jefferson Lines, an intercity bus company with scheduled passenger routes in 14 heartland states from Minnesota to Louisiana. He held the position of president and CEO for more than 20 years until 2012, when he was appointed commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. In that capacity, he oversaw a multimodal state transportation agency with an annual budget of more than $4 billion.

Zelle has served as a board member of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), served on its executive committee, and was chair of its Public Transportation Council. In addition, he has served as a member of the executive committee of the Transportation Research Board and past president of the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials (MAASTO).

Zelle has been recognized for his work in transportation policy as a recipient of the George Rucker Award by the Community Transportation Association in 2009 and the Ray L. Lappegaard Distinguished Service Award by Center of Transportation Studies in 2012.

Born and raised in St. Paul, Zelle received a B.A. from Bates College and an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management.

Contact Information
390 Robert St. N.
Saint Paul, MN 55101
Phone: 651.602.1453

[email protected]


Zelle was appointed chair of the Metropolitan Council by Gov. Tim Walz in January 2020.