During his tenure, the authority took several major steps to prepare for work on the high-speed system, which is slated to begin this summer, authority officials said in a prepared statement.
Those steps include hiring of key staff, forging partnerships with local governments and regional rail providers and certifying the Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact statement on the Merced-to-Fresno station project.
As chairman, Richard also oversaw the development of the 2012 business plan.
"When I was elected chair … I stated, 'Our challenge now is to look at what it will take to actually bring this system forward,'" said Richard. "Since that time we have made significant progress toward that goal and are poised to begin construction this summer in the Central Valley and start creating thousands of jobs."