Tony Daniels, Program Director of the California High Speed Rail (CHSR) Project, is leaving, being replaced by Clifford Eby. Daniels was well-respected in his industry as a man who really understood High Speed Rail. His replacement, Eby is with Parsons Brinckerhoff and recently left his appointment as the Acting and Deputy Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). He was there from 2005 to 2009. Prior to 2005 he was with Parson Corporation as a Senior Vice-President. His specialty is Innovative Finance and Economic Impacts.
Tony Daniels confirmed the story and said he will continue to work for Parsons Brinckerhoff. “It was time to transfer from that position and I was very pleased to see that role taken up for PB by Cliff Eby, a well-respected man in PB and the Railroad Industry,” said Daniels.
At the High Speed Rail Board meeting, CEO van Ark, announced he would leave shortly with the governor to begin a 10 day trip to China. No information about their agenda or what they expect to achieve from the visit was readily available.
BAY AREA PROGRAM ENIVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (EIR) CERTIFICATION
As expected, the Bay Area to Central Valley Program Level EIR was certified on Thursday over the voices of many who challenged the document on factual information. Some areas not properly addressed were ridership, routing, traffic along the new route along Monterey Highway, vibration mitigation, lack of Union Pacific permission to be on the corridor and many more important issues.
“At the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) board meeting, March 4th, Dan Leavitt notified the board that he will post a document that addresses those areas that the “court identified as needing additional work” for the Bay Area to Central Valley corridor.” That means instead of answers, those commenting on this “new” program Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on anything outside of that narrowly defined scope found this statement instead, “this subject was not a topic area noted by the Superior Court in the town of Atherton case as requiring additional CEQA work.”
Stuart Flashman, lead attorney on the previous winning lawsuit, which caused the decertification of the old Program EIR and the need for the creation of a new Program EIR, warned the Authority to “stop, take a deep breath, and reconsider its current course of action.” ” The Authority has already spent many months and hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money on legal battles instead of doing things right the first time. Does this board really think it wise to follow Authority staff down that road again? CEQA can be a problem for a public agency that wants to do things, ‘quick and dirty.'” At the hearing Flashman promised he would see them in court if the Authority certified the Program EIR and they did.