SacRT General Manager/CEO Henry Li Honored as Best Public Transportation CEO in North America

July 8, 2019 RT News

SACRAMENTO, CA – Henry Li, Sacramento Regional Transit District’s (SacRT) General Manager/CEO, received the 2019 Outstanding Public Transportation Manager Award from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). This prestigious and highly competitive award, described by APTA as the equivalent of an Oscar award to the industry, is presented to a manager who has made outstanding contributions to the advancement of public transportation in North America.

APTA is the leading force in advancing public transportation entities providing bus, rail, subway, ferry and paratransit services throughout North America. “Li is a visionary and transformational leader who is well deserving of this award, which is given to the best public transit CEO in North America. His leadership at SacRT has created phenomenal results not
only in the quality of service, but also in the restoration of positive financial ratings, increase in ridership, implementation of innovations, and the rebuilding of public trust. It takes a true leader with a focused vison to achieve the impressive results seen in his three year term at SacRT,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “On behalf of the 1,500 member
organizations of APTA, I congratulate him.”

Li’s selection is a testament to his vision, dedication and leadership to take SacRT to the next level as a world-class transit agency. He implemented historic improvements over the last three years as GM/CEO, including ridership growth for SacRT, as our industry is still struggling with downward trends. He is highly praised by the Sacramento community and the industry for implementing a solid and comprehensive transformation of SacRT in record speed. Li has proved to be a powerful change agent, overseeing a massive transformation to a solid culture of “Customers First and Business Optimization,” and dramatically improving key aspects of organizational performance, including safety, security, cleanliness, fiscal health, rail system modernization, service reliability, customer satisfaction and ridership improvements.

“I am truly humbled and grateful to receive this honor, but this is genuinely about the community and our commitment to improving mobility in our region,” said Li. “It is through the leadership and support from the Board, the hard work and dedication of our employees and the collaboration and support from riders, community stakeholders and advocates that we
have been able to achieve transformational successes.”

Some of Li’s major accomplishments include:

1. Developed industry best in class safety and security performance as demonstrated by receiving the Gold Standard Award, the highest recognition given to a transit agency, from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). SacRT achieved a remarkable score of 98% in all 17 security and emergency preparedness categories and now has one of the
lowest crime rate in the industry.

2. Jump-started a comprehensive rail system modernization and expansion initiative, which includes investing in new low-floor rail vehicles, revitalizing aging infrastructure, implementing new technologies to improve reliability and safety, modernizing stations and expanding the system.

3. Challenged the traditional governmental operations to function more like a business-oriented enterprise by implementing transformative improvement initiatives; dramatically turning around a negative financial situation to achieve a cost avoidance of $75 million; addressing a decade long trend of depleted reserves by building a $20 million and growing reserve fund; and pioneering a transit oriented development program leading to thousands of new housing units within a short proximity of transit.

4. Developed an inspirational vision and top-notch leadership team to pursue excellence on all fronts with strong transparency and accountability. Fostered a strong regional collaboration that led to annexation and/or unification of peer transit systems within the greater six-county Sacramento region to promote customer-friendly and integrated mobility solutions for regional economic growth, traffic congestion mitigation, and air quality and environmental improvement.

5. Actively pursued forward-thinking and innovative solutions to improve the customers experience, such as on-demand microtransit, mobile apps, micro-mobility options, an electric and autonomous vehicles; developing the framework for future Mobility as a Service (MaaS) to create industry best practices.

6. Re-imagined and optimized SacRT’s bus network, which has not been updated in 30 years. Dubbed as SacRT Forward, the redesigned bus routes, to be launched in September, features more frequent and direct service, seven days a week and more late night service.

“Henry hit the ground running and has been a difference-maker in improving the safety of our transit system and expanding the suite of mobility options for Sacramentans of all ages and abilities,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui, U.S. Representative for the Sacramento Region. “Henry’s commitment to safety, accessibility, and innovation are positioning SacRT for a bright future, and I congratulate him on this well-deserved and prestigious award.”

“By emphasizing clean, safe and convenient, relentlessly pursuing business optimization and putting the customers first, he has won over the hearts and minds of the community,” said SacRT Board Chair and Sacramento County Supervisor Patrick Kennedy.

“Henry is a champion of innovative mobility solutions.” City of Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said. “From on-demand microtransit to partnering with TNC’s and micro-mobility providers, SacRT is at the forefront of the integrated transit solutions that is fueling our economy and creating the smart city of the future.”