California High-Speed Rail Authority

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The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) is a California state agency established pursuant to the California High-Speed Rail Act (S.B. 1420, Chapter 796 of the California Statutes of 1996) to develop and implement high-speed intercity rail service, such as the California High-Speed Rail project.


The Authority is composed of nine members. Five members are appointed by the Governor, two members are appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, and two members are appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly.[1][2] Currently this includes:[2]

Dan Richard Chair
Appointed on August 23, 2011 by Governor Brown; re-appointed on January 9, 2015 by Governor Brown

Tom Richards Vice Chair
Appointed on December 20, 2010 by Governor Schwarzenegger

Bonnie Lowenthal
Appointed by Speaker Toni G. Atkins on Jan. 27, 2016 replacing Thea Selby, who was a vice chair [3]

Lou Correa
Appointed on March 4, 2015 by the Senate Rules Committee

Daniel Curtin
Appointed on May 15, 2015 by Speaker Toni Atkins; term expires end of 2017. He replaces Patrick W. Henning, Sr.[4]

Michael Rossi
Appointed on August 24, 2011 by Governor Brown

Lynn Schenk
Appointed on November 11, 2003 by Governor Davis; re-appointed on January 2, 2013 by Governor Brown


Lorraine Paskett
Appointed Jan. 27, 2016 by the Senate Rules Committee, filling the seat of former Vice-Chair Jim Hartnett who stepped down in March 2014.[5]


As noted in James Fallows' third article (in 2014) in his series on California's High-Speed Rail project, the Authority was seen as not very effective and possibly even mis-managing the project. Dan Richard, the new Authority chair appointed by Gov. Brown, made this comment for inclusion in his article concerning this charge:

"When Jerry Brown came in, the HSR program was rife with problems. The organization was at half-strength, the board was dysfunctional, there was a high level of criticism from independent groups evaluating ridership and plans.

"All of that has turned around. The board is highly cohesive and professional. The staff is now at full strength with a highly capable day-to-day CEO, top flight engineering, risk management and program leadership. We have the most sophisticated risk management program likely to be found in any public infrastructure program. Our cost data and risk assessments are now presented publicly on a regular basis at our board meetings and are in accessible form on our website. Our CEO put in excellent local project leaders and former critics have lauded the openness and responsiveness of that team.

"Here's a quote from the Independent Peer Review Group, established by the California Legislature. The PRG was highly critical of past plans. No more:

"'We believe that the Authority has made manifest progress in all areas of planning and management since the Revised 2012 Business Plan. This assessment applies to risk management, demand forecasting, operating and maintenance (O&M) cost modeling and the analysis of the impact of HSR on California's greenhouse gas emissions.'" [6]


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