California State Controller's seal

Press Releases


Controller Yee Appoints Civil Engineer to
High-Speed Rail Authority Peer Review Group

Contact: Jennifer Hanson/Jason Dumont
(916) 324-2709

SACRAMENTO—State Controller Betty T. Yee today appointed a new member to the group that reviews planning, engineering, and financial plans for the nation’s first high-speed rail system.

Bijan Sartipi, a civil engineer and 36-year veteran of two California agencies, is Controller Yee’s second of two appointments to the California High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) Peer Review Group (PRG). The PRG has eight positions with various areas of expertise established by statute. The Controller selected Sartipi for his decades of experience engineering and constructing large infrastructure projects. Sartipi joins Martin Wachs, who Yee selected in 2015 for his planning and finance experience. He fills the seat previously held by civil engineer Mark Leja. 

“Peer review is key to ensuring the success of and accountability for one of our state’s largest infrastructure projects,” said Yee, the state’s chief fiscal officer. “Mr. Sartipi’s knowledge and experience with successfully completing large-scale projects will be valuable to this panel’s ongoing efforts.” 

Sartipi, who earned a degree in civil engineering from University of the Pacific in 1981, began his career in civil service as an engineer for the State Water Quality Control Board that same year. In 1982, he joined the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) as a junior civil engineer, rising to the role of Deputy District Director of Design for Caltrans District 4.  From 2002 until April of this year, Sartipi served as Caltrans District Director for the Bay Area, with responsibility for the day-to-day operation of 6,500 state highway lane miles and seven state-owned toll bridges in the region’s nine counties.  Major construction completed under his watch included the Devil’s Slide Tunnels, Caldecott Tunnel, Presidio Parkway, and the Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program including the eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

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 less than 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. Development will be funded by bond proceeds from Proposition 1A of 2008, federal support, and other state and local funds.

As the chief fiscal officer of California, Controller Yee is responsible for accountability and disbursement of the state’s financial resources. The Controller also safeguards many types of property until claimed by the rightful owners, and has independent auditing authority over government agencies that spend state funds. She is a member of numerous financing authorities, and fiscal and financial oversight entities including the Franchise Tax Board. She also serves on the boards for the nation’s two largest public pension funds. Elected in 2014, Controller Yee is the tenth woman elected to a statewide office in California’s history. Follow the Controller on Twitter at @CAController and on Facebook at California State Controller’s Office.