Fil-Am appointed as LA Board of Transportation commissioner

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LOS ANGELES – Only weeks since the recent appointments of Joel Jacinto and George Villanueva to separate commissions in the local government of Los Angeles, another Filipino-American was named by Mayor Eric Garcetti as commissioner for a key governing body in LA.

Cris B. Liban, deputy executive officer for the Environmental Compliance and Services Department of the LA County Metro Transportation Authority (MTA), has been appointed by Mayor Garcetti as one of the commissioners for the LA Board of Transportation.

As commissioner, Liban’s responsibilities include reviewing proposed ordinances governing city streets, overseeing off-street parking facilities, having City Council-approved authority over the Special Parking Revenue Fund, and regulating for-hire vehicles, other than taxicabs.

Liban’s appointment was confirmed during an LA City Council meeting on Tuesday, May 20.

The 47-year-old Liban told Asian Journal (via a telephone interview) that it’s a “great privilege to become part of the governance” and “to serve the people” of the City of LA.

He also praised Mayor Garcetti for taking an approach to local government which is inclusive of all communities in LA.

According to Liban, this current appointment will expire at the end of June 2015.

He will only be finishing the unexpired term of former Commissioner Stephanie Rodriguez, who resigned early this year.

Currently, Liban serves as co-chair for the board of directors of Filipino American Service Group, Inc. (FASGI), an LA-based organization that serves the Filipino community and other underserved LA residents.

Liban believes that he was considered by Mayor Garcetti for the position because of his work experience with LA Metro.

Liban oversees the transportation authority’s environmental compliance, environmental remediation, energy management, climate change management, environmental management system, policy development and implementation, and electric vehicle charger programs.

He also serves on several American Public Transportation Association Working Groups and is currently co-chair of the APTA Sustainability Commitment Sub-Committee.

He also serves leadership capacities on a number of committees in the National Academies of Science Transportation Research Board.

LIban said that “part and parcel” of his interest in serving under the transportation board includes the “little things,” like parking lots.

“There’s a lot that we can do with parking lots. For example, in LA Metro, we have done many green projects in parking lots. We have installed energy-efficient lighting. We have installed products that are considered sustainable, with less impact to the environment,” Liban pointed out.

Liban has yet to attend his first board meeting with his fellow commissioners. However, he indicated that he intends to meet with key officials in the city’s transportation sector, so that he will have a chance to understand these officials’ own ideas on how to improve LA’s transportation infrastructure.

Based on what Liban has seen in the past, he said that he Board of Transportation’s scope of work is “pretty straightforward.”

For example, when somebody needs a permit for any transportation infrastructure development, the LA Department of Transportation endorses the case to the Board of Transportation, who then deliberates on the case before forwarding it to the City Council for final approval.

Liban said that he wants to take a more innovative approach to dealing with the business of the Board of Transportation.

He said that he wants to explore the possibility of learning from the LA City Planning Commission — of bringing ideas from the planning commission that the Board of Transportation can discuss, including innovative ideas beyond the usual permits and regular matters of the board, and “going beyond what people have traditionally seen” with the board.

“The official record says that I’m only there [in the board] for a little over a year. I would like that to be as productive as possible, that’s why I’m taking these extra steps on my own to actually learn about the LA Department of Transportation and make my presence there worth everybody’s time,” Liban said.

(LA Midweek May 28-30, 2014 Sec A pg.1)

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