Li says it basically comes down to running the bus and train service like a business.
"With a thriving public transportation, the economy thrives," he said.
A major focus will be making the service more customer-centric, expanding the routes and managing the costs in an effort to win back the estimated 10,000 riders who have turned away from RT since 2008.
But under the Trump administration, federal funding for RT is uncertain.
"Frankly, I think we have to guard against serious cuts -- possibly implemented this year," James Corless, of Transportation for America, said Monday.
And in November, Sacramento voters rejected Measure B, a half-cent sales tax increase, which would have funded improvements to the service. Li says to expect another ballot measure, hoping this time RT can make a better case to the voters.
"Next two years, we want to implement those initiates and prove to the community we can do it, we can do a much better job for you," he said.