Former San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) CEO Paul Jablonski, who suddenly passed away earlier this year, has been inducted to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Hall of Fame for his extraordinary contributions to public transportation and outstanding leadership over a 40-year long career.
The award is the association’s highest honor for individuals who have long and distinguished careers in the public transportation industry.
“A steady theme throughout Paul’s career was about contributing to the advancement of transit in the United States and around the world,” said Paul P. Skoutelas, APTA president/CEO. “Paul had a team-first collaborative nature. Paul and his contributions moving our industry forward will be deeply missed, but he has helped us forge a promising path that other transit leaders can follow into the future.”
In 2009, only four years into his role as CEO at MTS, the agency was awarded Outstanding Transportation System of the Year, and in 2014, Jablonski was recognized by APTA as the Outstanding Transportation Manager.
While at the MTS helm, some of Jablonski’s notable accomplishments included: the $660 million Trolley Renewal Project, the redesign of the agency’s entire bus network, and leading the agency’s green fleet goals by transitioning its bus fleet to mostly compressed natural gas and implementing a zero-emission bus pilot program.
Prior to his role at MTS, Jablonski began his career as a bus driver and later served on the APTA Executive Committee and as chair of the California Transit Association’s Executive Committee.
Before his death on May 10, he had been leading MTS through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. His leadership, vision, and values laid the groundwork for the agency’s recovery; a legacy that is now being continued by his successor, Sharon Cooney.