April 13, 2009
2009 APTA - TRB Light Rail Conference Issue
APTA Forms High-Speed Rail Task Force
APTA has announced the formation of the High-Speed Rail Corridors and Intercity Passenger Rail Service Principles Task Force, co-chaired by Rod Diridon, executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute in San Jose, CA, and J. Barry Barker, executive director of the Transit Authority of River City in Louisville, KY.
The organization of the task force followed the announcement that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) allocated $8 billion in federal funding for high-speed rail corridors, and support for an ongoing national high-speed rail program in the Obama administration’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget.
The purpose of the task force is to make APTA a relevant part of the national dialogue about the future of U.S. high-speed rail.
The task force’s objectives are:
* Establish the basic policy tenets that should be included in the national high-speed rail corridor and intercity passenger rail plan being developed by the Federal Railroad Administration;
* Develop recommendations on the execution of the ARRA funding programs, including the relationship of these programs to existing rail systems; and
* Develop recommendations on how to structure ongoing programs for both a national high-speed rail corridor and intercity passenger rail.
Members of the panel include George N. Dorshimer, president of LTK Engineering Services; Mortimer L. Downey III, president of Mort Downey Consulting LLC; Edward J. Fishman, partner with K&L Gates; Wayne L. Friesner of Dallas Area Rapid Transit, vice president, commuter rail and railroad management, Trinity Railway Express; Joseph J. Giulietti, executive director of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (Tri-Rail); W. Dan Pickett, union president, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; Charles Quandel, president of Quandel Consultants LLC; Patricia Quinn, executive director, Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority; Stanley J. Rosenblum, division vice president, Jacobs; Elliot G. (Lee) Sander, executive director and chief executive officer of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Eugene K. Skoropowski, managing director, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, Oakland, CA; David Solow, chief executive officer, Southern California Regional Rail Authority; Randall Wade, passenger rail manager, Wisconsin DOT; and Charles R. Wochele, vice president, business development, with ALSTOM Transportation Inc.
“The purpose of the task force is to position APTA and its members to work with Congress and the Administration to achieve the vision of high-speed and intercity rail,” Downey said. “With the passage last year of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act and, more importantly, President Obama’s effort to get a big jump-start on passenger rail with $8 billion for high-speed rail in the stimulus plan, this is now a reality.”
He continued: “We’re looking for answers to questions such as: How is the program to be organized? What are the goals to be achieved? How will it coexist with other transportation programs?”
The task force held its first conference call April 1 to develop principles for a future APTA high-speed rail and intercity passenger policy. It will present interim recommendations to the APTA Executive Committee at its May 2 meeting.