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CA Controller Appoints Transportation Planning Expert to High-Speed Rail Authority Peer Review Group

Contact: JOHN HILL
(916) 445-2636

SACRAMENTO—With construction of the nation’s first high-speed rail system now under way in California, State Controller Betty T. Yee today appointed a key member to the group that reviews planning, engineering, and financial plans for the major transportation infrastructure project.

Martin Wachs, a civil engineer and transportation researcher, is Yee’s first appointment to the California High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) Peer Review Group (PRG).  The PRG has eight members with various areas of expertise established by statute.

“High-speed rail is a significant infrastructure investment for California taxpayers, deserving of the highest degree of oversight and expert planning,” said Controller Yee, the state’s chief fiscal officer.  “Mr. Wachs brings decades of knowledge and experience in transportation planning to this group and will play an important role in assuring the ultimate success of this project.”

Wachs was previously director of The RAND Corporation’s Transportation, Space and Technology Program and continues to serve as an adjunct senior principal researcher.  He earned his doctorate in Urban and Regional Planning from Northwestern University and is Professor Emeritus in City and Regional Planning and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to moving to Berkeley, Wachs was a professor and served three terms as chair of the Department of Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. Wachs is the author of 160 articles and four books on relationships between transportation, land use and air quality, transportation systems, and the use of performance measurement in transportation planning.

HSRA business plans to be reviewed by PRG include estimates of capital costs, service levels, operating and maintenance costs, and environmental review schedules. PRG also plays a key role in reviewing estimates of anticipated funds, private and public funding agreements, potential impediments to completion, reasonably foreseeable risks and mitigation strategies, and HSRA funding plans prior to certain appropriation requests.

By 2029, the high-speed rail system is slated to run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours, reaching speeds of more than 200 miles per hour. The system eventually will extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations. Developing the first segment of the Initial Operating Section (IOS) from Madera to Bakersfield will cost $6 billion, consisting of $3.3 billion in federal funding and $2.6 billion in bond proceeds from Proposition 1A of 2008. The remaining portions of the IOS will be funded using state bonds, federal support, and local funds.