Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa picked a familiar face to become his deputy mayor for transportation Tuesday, moving Borja Leon from his current post as associate director of transportation into the new job.
Leon was responsible for overseeing the mayor's participation in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and implementing the mayor's agenda there. He provided public policy advice to MTA's board and watched over major infrastructure projects in the city and L.A. County, according to a news release from the mayor's office.
"Borja has been a trusted advisor on major transportation policy issues," Villaraigosa said. "I know that he will use his broad experience to continue to shape our transportation policy and implement programs to reduce commutes, help expand transit options and improve mobility for residents throughout Los Angeles."
Leon takes the place of Jaime de la Vega, who last week was named interim general manager of the city's embattled Department of Transportation.
In an interview, the 36-year-old Leon could barely contain his excitement about the new position, saying that he is already coming up with ideas and plans. He said transportation has always been in his blood, adding that his father was an engineer who worked on subway projects in Venezuela.
"He was just a hard-working engineer," Leon said. "That's where I got my passion."
Leon is an engineer as well, and previously worked on project development, engineering and construction management at the California Department of Transportation. He started working for Villaraigosa in 2005.
He said part of his new emphasis will be to help push Congress to adopt Villaraigosa's America Fast Forward plan that would speed construction of local transit projects, including those approved by voters under Measure R.