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Yesterday, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) board named a new chief executive officer. Jeff Morales replaces Roelof van Ark, who resigned in January. Morales most recently was a senior vice president with Parsons Brinckerhoff Americas, where he served as director of strategic initiatives and government relations. He previously served as director of the California Department of Transportation, managing a $10 billion program and more than 23,000 employees, as well as executive director of the Chicago Transit Authority. Morales has experience at the federal level, as well. He was a member of President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team focusing on transportation, Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review and the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. In addition, Morales held posts with the United States Department of Transportation and U.S. senate staff. “He has a solid track record of creativity and innovation in the delivery of on-time, on-budget infrastructure projects,” said CHSRA board Chairman Dan Richard in a prepared statement.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood commented on the appointment, as well, saying Morales' experience with and knowledge of transportation issues at a local and national level will be a "vital asset" for California's high-speed rail project.
"This announcement builds on the momentum we've already seen since Governor Brown and CHSRA Board Chairman Dan Richard announced a revised business plan that will deliver the benefits of high-speed rail more quickly and affordably," he said.