SunLine Transit Agency Welcomes New Chief Planning Officer Paul Mattern & Announces Several Staff Promotions

Apr 3, 2024

New Leadership to Oversee Large-scale Projects on the Horizon

(Thousand Palms, CA) – SunLine Transit Agency welcomes Paul Mattern to lead its planning strategies and implementation as Chief Planning Officer. In addition, SunLine has announced a number of staff promotions amongst longtime leaders within Agency.

Mattern is an experienced Transit Planner and Asset Manager, with a demonstrated history of finding innovative solutions utilizing new technologies for public transportation. He is skilled in spatial analysis using ArcGIS, strategic planning, public policy, and public speaking. This strong program and project management professional is focused on broad collaboration amongst stakeholders. Mattern holds a B.S. in Economics and a B.S. in Energy and Sustainable Systems, with a minor in City and Regional Planning, and a GIS Certificate. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Sustainable Transportation from the University of Washington.

Additional staff promotions include Luis Garcia being named Chief Financial Officer, Bryan Valenzuela stepping up as Chief Safety Officer, Walter Watcher becoming Chief of Capital Projects and Tina Hamel advancing to Chief Administrative Officer.

“It is an honor to work alongside this exceptional group of leaders every day, and each is deserving of their new role with the Agency,” said Mona Babauta, CEO/General Manager of SunLine Transit Agency. “With several impactful projects underway at SunLine, this team collectively holds the expertise, knowledge and cohesiveness necessary to move these initiatives forward.”

Currently in motion at SunLine include a liquid hydrogen station and the Coachella Transit Hub – both projected to be completed by June 2024. The liquid hydrogen station will give the Agency increased reliability in fueling its Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology fleet. The Coachella Transit Hub is located on the southeast corner of Cesar Chavez Street and 4th Street, and will include a breakroom, bus shelters, and landscape improvements.

On the horizon are a Zero-Emission Workforce Training Center, a solar micro grid and a new maintenance facility.

The purpose of the Zero-Emission Workforce Training Facility is to provide support and training for the planning, procurement, operation, safety and maintenance of Zero Emission Buses (ZEB). Since 2018, SunLine has collaborated with educational institutions and industry partners to prepare training materials for hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric technologies.

The solar micro grid aims to facilitate SunLine’s energy independence, increasing the renewable content while reducing the cost of energy used for SunLine’s operations. A battery storage package is proposed as a stand-alone solution, to be plugged into the existing substation in order to store energy coming from the existing infrastructure.

The new maintenance facility will allow SunLine to plan for the replacement of major capital assets, including maintenance facilities, fueling infrastructure and possible relocation of its east Valley bus storage and fueling facility. The project will also allow for the development of shovel-ready projects, placing SunLine in a more competitive position for pursuing future capital funds.

For more information on SunLine Transit Agency, visit