Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday appointed three Los Angeles representatives to the board of the county’s transportation agency, one of the biggest decisions the new mayor has made so far that will influence his administration’s transportation projects.
Garcetti’s appointees to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority are Los Angeles City Council members Mike Bonin and Paul Krekorian and South Los Angeles housing advocate Jackie Dupont-Walker. As mayor, Garcetti automatically has a seat on the board.
"Between the four of us, we have great geographical coverage," Garcetti said of the appointees. Garcetti lives in Silver Lake. Bonin represents a Westside district and Krekorian represents parts of the San Fernando Valley. Garcetti added that all three will be expected to help raise the national profile of Los Angeles transportation issues.
The city of Los Angeles has the biggest voting bloc of any municipality on the board, which often provides an advantage during votes on policies that would help — or hurt — the city. The Metro board's other members are the five Los Angeles County supervisors and four elected officials from other county municipalities.
Dupont-Walker is the head of Ward Economic Development Group. She was a major force in recent city redistricting efforts. She joined with other black leaders to fight for political gains that she said would have been wiped out when the lines for voting districts were redrawn.
She also chairs the USC Master Plan Advisory Council. She represents West Adams residents as USC plans a multibillion-dollar redevelopment of some areas near the campus.
“A world-class [transportation] system should be accessible to every L.A. neighborhood," Dupont-Walker said in a statement. "New hubs and corridors are opportunities to spark much-needed job creation and neighborhood revitalization by spurring local economies.”
Bonin's City Council district stretches from Los Angeles International Airport to Pacific Palisades. He replaced his former boss, former council member Bill Rosendahl, as the head of the council’s transportation committee.
"We on the Westside are especially eager to get moving with real solutions that give us back the family time and dollars we lose while we are stuck in traffic and gridlock,” Bonin said in a prepared statement.
Bonin is also vice chairman of the board of directors for the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority. The second phase of that light-rail line, expected to open in 2015, will connect downtown L.A. and Santa Monica.
Krekorian heads the council's budget and finance committee and is a member of the transportation committee. Formerly, as an Assemblyman, he voted to include Measure R on the 2008 ballot. The half-cent sales tax measure is expected to generate more than $30 billion for county transportation projects over the next 30 years.
"Through innovation and efficiency, we need to get more for our transportation dollars and accelerate MTA's work toward enhanced mobility throughout the entire region," Krekorian said in a statement. "This is a critical moment in our pursuit of a seamless public transportation system that cost-effectively reduces congestion in the San Fernando Valley and all of Los Angeles.”
When former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa left office in June, his appointees were Council member Jose Huizar, businessman Mel Wilson and former Assemblyman Richard Katz.