O'Halloran takes over from acting chairman Larry Huggins. An effort to give him the job permanently failed and that's when the board voted for O'Halloran.
He says the biggest challenge facing any transit agency is finding the money for capital projects such as bridges and track work.
O'Halloran was asked about the possibility of a fare increase.
"We can't kick the can down the road and then in five years come to the public and say hey we need this whopper," he said. "I think people would rather have small increases that reflect the costs and make sure that Metra is stewarding their money appropriately."
Metra implemented its largest fare increase ever this past February.