California High-Speed Rail Authority Hires World Recognized CEO

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Following an extensive international search, the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors has announced the hiring of Jeff Morales as the Authority’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

“117 days ago, when I was elected Chair of the Authority’s Board of Directors, I stated, ‘Our challenge now is to look at what it will take to actually bring this system forward.’ Since that time we have made significant progress toward that goal,” said Board Chairman Dan Richard. “Our board delivered a revised business plan for a system that will connect San Francisco and Los Angles by building upon regional transit systems at a cost of $30 billion less than estimated in the draft plan.  Recently, the independent Peer Review Group issued a report that acknowledged this plan for being greatly improved in several key areas.”

“We know we have much more work ahead to make high-speed rail a reality, but today we take a giant step forward with the naming of the Authority’s new CEO.  Jeff Morales is exactly the right person to take the helm at this pivotal time and capitalize on the positive momentum that has built up over the last several months.  This Board was deeply impressed by his extensive experience in large and complex transportation issues and projects on the local, state, federal and international levels.  He has a solid track record of creativity and innovation in the delivery of on-time, on-budget infrastructure projects,” concluded Richard.

Jeff Morales has a distinguished record of experience managing large and complex transportation issues and projects. As the former Director of the California Department of Transportation, Morales managed a $10 billion program and more than 23,000 employees working to build, maintain and operate the largest state transportation system in the U.S. Morales is the past Executive Director of the Chicago Transit Authority where he spearheaded major reforms at the nation’s second-largest transit agency. His experience at the federal level includes serving as a member of President-Elect Obama’s transition team focusing on transportation, Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review, the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, the United States Department of Transportation and U.S. Senate staff. He is currently a Senior Vice President of Parsons Brinckerhoff Americas and serves as their Director of Strategic Initiatives and Government Relations.

“I am honored to be part of the Authority’s team and look forward to working with partners across the state to deliver this important project,” said Morales.


Jeff Morales’ curriculum vitae follows.


Curriculum Vitae


Jeff Morales


B.S., Biology, George Washington University, Washington, DC, 1983

Professional Affiliations

Eno Transportation Foundation: Board of Advisors; University of California-Davis Sustainable Transportation Center: External Advisory Council; Women’s Transportation Seminar: International Advisory Board; Surface Transportation Policy Project: Board Member; Transportation Research Board, Committee on New Public Transportation Systems and Technology: Member

Key Qualifications

Jeff has a strong public sector career background with a focus on transportation policy and public-private partnerships. His national leadership was underscored by being appointed as a member of the Transition Team for President-Elect Barack Obama, responsible for developing a roadmap for the incoming Administration, including key policy recommendations and preparation of the Transportation Secretary-designate. An expert in strategic planning and program implementation, Jeff is nationally recognized for developing innovative policies and practices that have resulted in improved productivity and customer service across the agencies he has served.

As director of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Jeff managed a $10 billion program and more than 23,000 employees working to build, maintain and operate the largest state transportation system in the U.S. This experience provides him with a unique credential—direct involvement in more public-private partnerships than any other state transportation official (South Bay Expressway, San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Alameda Corridor, Orange County Foothill Eastern, Orange County San Joaquin, and SR 91 express lanes). His perspective on what it takes for public and private sectors to work together in true partnership is invaluable for those who sit on both sides of the table.

Jeff also served as executive vice president of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), where he spearheaded major reforms to improve service and increase ridership at the nation’s second-largest transit agency. Those efforts were instrumental in reversing the steady decline in ridership that had prevailed for the previous 15 years. Prior to his tenure at the CTA, he was a senior staff member with former Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance Review, the task force designed to reinvent the federal government. In 1996-1997, Jeff was Issues Director of the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. He also held senior positions at the U.S. Department of Transportation and on the staff of the U.S. Senate.

Representative Project Experience

  • California High Speed Train: principal-in-charge, supporting the California High Speed Rail Authority in the development of the 2012 business plan that will establish the framework for implementing the first new high speed rail system in the United States.
  • Presidio Parkway Replacement, San Francisco, California: principal-in-charge directing the development of technical and strategic support for the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and Caltrans for the first public-private partnership being undertaken under a new statewide program.
  • Los Angeles Metro Congestion Management Plan, Los Angeles, California: project director overseeing implementation of the first-ever congestion pricing program for Los Angeles, the most congested region in the United States. The project will develop a regional plan for congestion pricing that is technically feasible and acceptable to the public. Gaining public support has meant a pledge of $213 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to help implement the plan, upon legislative approval. Work is now moving from planning to implementation, including selection of technologies and development of procurement specifications.
  • Capital Program Development, Toronto, Canada: project manager developing the first capital program for the Greater Toronto Transit Authority (Metrolinx), a new agency created to promote and fund regional transit capital investment in greater Toronto. Working directly with the Metrolinx board of directors and key stakeholders, the project involves the development of criteria, evaluation and prioritization of projects to be funded with an $11.5 billion (Canadian) investment by the provincial government.
  • Transport for London (TfL) Capital Investment Strategy, London, United Kingdom: principal consultant providing capital investment policy guidance to Transport for London (TfL) in the development and implementation of its £10 billion ($18 billion) capital program. In the process, PB Consult is assisting in enhancing TfL’s financial management policies, analysis, decision-making, and organization.
  • Transport for London (TfL) Interchange Programme, London, UK: program manager for project to guide delivery of TfL’s Major Project Business Unit Interchange Programme, consisting of a range of projects that are at different stages in the life cycle and require different levels of management to complete delivery. Each development typically has multiple sponsorship and most are in the early definition stage with long gestation and definition timescales. The objective is to establish a baseline program, identify the organizational structure, resourcing and funding required to support program delivery, and identify any processes, tools and training that could further enhance the delivery of the program.
  • Chicago Transit Authority Express Airport Train Service Business Plan, Chicago, Illinois: principal consultant for engagement assessing the feasibility and financial viability of new express service from downtown Chicago to the City’s two airports. The business plan addresses operational details, regulatory structures, project financing and management and governance of the new service.
  • Regional Transportation Authority (Northeastern Illinois) Strategic Plan: principal-in-charge for landmark work to develop a regional plan for the future of public transportation in the greater Chicagoland region, the nation’s second-largest transit market. The work includes coordination among the RTA and its three service boards, and development and evaluation of policy and funding options.
  • Oahu Transit Plan Alternatives Analysis/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (AA/DEIS), Honolulu, Hawaii: task manager for financial analysis as part of the development and production of the AA/DEIS for a new transit program for the City and County of Honolulu. The financial analysis will identify sources of possible federal and local funding and the most cost-effective means of financing the project.
  • IdleAire Technologies Corporation, IdleAire Investment Grade Feasibility Assessment: senior staff member responsible for identifying and securing funding opportunities to advance the installation of IdleAire facilities in key locations. PB Consult was engaged to assist IdleAire in raising senior debt as well as in gaining Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) funding for the billion-dollar technology and facility upgrade.


Previous Experience

  • California Department of Transportation (2000-2004): director of the nation’s largest state transportation agency, with $10 billion of highway, transit, and rail improvements underway and over 20,000 employees statewide. Responsible for the management of the largest transportation program in California’s history, with a focus on improving productivity and delivering results. Through the development of new policies, greater efficiencies and the implementation of innovative practices, re-established the department as a national leader.
  • Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago, Illinois (1997-2000): executive vice president, responsible for activities to improve the management and performance of the nation’s second largest transit agency, serving 1.5 million riders per day with a workforce of over 11,000 people and an annual budget of approximately $1.2 billion. Spearheaded programs that reversed a 15-year trend of declining ridership through focus on customer service, innovative programs, and strategic focus. Led successful efforts to secure the first major capital improvement program in over a decade. Responsibilities included direct oversight of the authority’s budget, employee services, communications, technology development, purchasing, legislative activities, and disadvantaged business enterprise opportunities.
  • National Performance Review, Washington, DC (1995-1997): senior staff member responsible for policy and management guidance on Vice President Al Gore’s task force to improve the management and performance of the federal government. Responsibilities included oversight of reinvention activities at several federal agencies; speech writing for the Vice President; development of policy initiatives; drafting articles and other materials for the Vice President and other senior administration officials; and public speaking.
  • White House Commission on Aviation Safety & Security, Washington, DC (1996): issues director who managed the consideration and presentation of issues by the presidential commission established to address aviation safety and security challenges. Responsibilities included staffing for Vice President Gore; presentation of materials to the Vice President and commission; drafting commission reports; and public speaking on behalf of the commission.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC (1993-1995): special assistant and policy advisor to the secretary. Provided policy, political, and legislative guidance to Secretary of Transportation Federico Peña. Oversaw broad range of issues involving all modes of transportation across the country. Directed efforts to reform the Federal Aviation Administration and assisted in reorganization of the Department of Transportation. Responsibilities included management of policy, legislative, budgetary, scheduling and public affairs activities; policy development; public speaking; and drafting and editing speeches, articles, testimony, and other materials for the secretary and other administration officials, including the Vice President.
  • Office of U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Washington, DC (1983-1993): legislative assistant responsible for transportation, infrastructure, and related issues for Chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee. Primary or sole staffing for significant initiatives, including airline smoking ban legislation, Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), aviation safety and security, and comprehensive oil spill legislation. Responsibilities included policy development; drafting and monitoring legislation; writing testimony; preparing hearing materials; evaluating annual appropriations requests; and public speaking.


Select Presentations and Articles

  • “High Speed Rail in the US: Catching Up, Moving Ahead” presented to High Speed Rail World Australia, Sydney, Australia. August 2011
  • “Transportation on the “A List? Investment in Infrastructure Is Making it onto the Federal Agenda.” Two-part article, Transportation Builder, American Road and Transportation Builders Association. Nov/Dec 2009, Jan/Feb 2010.
  • “LA County Congestion Reduction Demonstration Project – Express Lanes,” presented to Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, Seattle, WA July 2009
  • “Surfing the Economy, Avoiding a Wipeout,” presentation at conference on Managing in an Era of Changing Economic Times, International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, San Francisco, CA, April 2009
  • “Public-Private Partnerships: An Important Tool for Transportation,” presented to the Transportation Research Board Alternative Finance Workshop, San Diego, CA, July 2006.
  • “Public-Private Partnerships: Making the Most of Today’s Project Delivery Options,” presented at Partnerships for New York—Innovative Transportation Financing and Contracting Strategies: Opportunities for New York State, Albany, NY, March 2006.
  • “Turning Opportunities into Partnerships,” presented to International Bridge, Toll and Tunnel Authorities Annual Finance Conference, Washington, DC, November 2005.
  • “In the Center of a Sea of Change: Growth in Trade and its Impact on North American Infrastructure,” presented to Transporte Internacional, U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Acapulco, Mexico, September 2005.
  • “Putting the ‘Partnership’ into PPP’s: Barriers to Broader Application of Innovative Financing and How We Can Overcome Them,” presented to Federal Highway Administration Conference on Innovative Financing, San Francisco, CA, June 2005.
  • “Context Sensitivity: What it Means for Transit,” presented to the annual meeting of the American Public Transportation Association, Columbus, OH, May 2005.
  • “California’s HOV System: Incentives for Cleaner Vehicles,” presented to the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC, January 2005.
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