21st Century Transportation for America


  • Amtrak Projects & Procurements
  • Politics of High Speed Rail
  • HSR Investment
  • $6 billion CA HSR Starting
  • CA HSR Procurement Schedule
  • Appropriations & Rail Funding
  • Ongoing Federal Support for HSR
  • Political Sustainability for HSR
  • Linking Different Agencies for HSR
  • Permanent Funding Sources
  • National Defense, Energy Security and HSR
  • Bringing High Speed Rail to America
  • Why High Speed
  • High Speed Rail Around the World
  • Real Estate Development Opportunities
  • Transit Oriented Development
  • Station Area Planning
  • Rail Station Architecture and Design
  • Creating Jobs & Stimulating the Economy
  • Scaling Up HSR Renewable Energy
  • Planning New HSR Systems
  • Streamlining Application Process
  • Financing HSR with Private Capital
  • Public Private Partnerships
  • Infrastructure Fund HSR
  • Technology of HSR
  • Integrating with Transit

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Karen Hedlund, Deputy Administrator - Federal Railroad Admin.

Karen Hedlund was appointed Deputy Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration in December 2011. Prior to her appointment, she served as FRA Chief Counsel, providing legal oversight and advice for the agency’s safety and passenger rail programs, with a focus on implementation of the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program.
She led successful negotiations with several Class I host railroads to secure Service Outcome Agreements, supporting the timely obligation of nearly $8 billion in grants to thirty two states and the District of Columbia. Hedlund also participated in the development of an historic multi-state procurement for Next Generation rail equipment in California, Washington State and the Midwest.
With more than 35 years of experience in the legal profession, Hedlund's knowledge and expertise of major infrastructure projects and public finance continue to be an invaluable asset to FRA in her capacity as Deputy Administrator.

U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, House of Representatives

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is an influential and forceful voice in Washington.  She is serving her tenth term (20 years) as a member of the United States House of Representatives. She represents the 18th Congressional District of Texas, centered in Houston, which is the energy capital of the world.
During Congresswoman Jackson Lee’s tenure in Congress she has served on various Committees including the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, and Judiciary. In the 110th and 111th Congress, she served as Chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection.
"Congressional Quarterly" named her as one of the 50 most effective Members of Congress and "U.S. News and World Report" named her as one of the 10 most influential legislators in the House of Representatives.

U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar, House of Representatives

Congressman Henry Cuellar is a strong supporter of high speed rail. The Wall Street Journal calls him "a pro-growth Member [of Congress] in the John F. Kennedy mold."   The Dallas Morning News says he's "one of the seven best Texas legislators."  The San Antonio Express-News says, "Cuellar has worked hard and demonstrated an independent nonpartisan mind-set," and also notes that "Cuellar's willingness to place his district ahead of his political party is refreshing." The Ft. Worth Star Telegram says "How does he do it?" calling him "one of the hardest-working lawmakers on Capitol Hill."

During his first three terms in Congress, he's stood out among his congressional colleagues as an advocate for better government, commerce and trade, small businesses and border security. As the Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, Congressman Cuellar is widely recognized as a leader on homeland security, border security and national emergency preparedness and response.

In the 113th Congress, he currently serves on the influential House Appropriations Committee making him the only Texas Democrat to serve on the committee. This committee is in charge of overseeing the Federal budget, reviewing proposed expenditures and crafting the legislation that outlines annual spending for government agencies.

Congressman Cuellar has been a legislative champion for government transparency and accountability, authoring and passing legislation in Congress to reform federal agency procedures and to eliminate bureaucratic redundancy. He serves as Vice Chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, where he guides policy and legislation in Congress through his leadership role. Congressman Cuellar is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

U.S. Congressman John Mica, House of Representatives

A long time supporter of high speed rail, Congressman John Mica (Republican, 7th District of Florida) former Chairman of the largest committee in Congress - Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  Currently serving his eleventh term, Mica is a visionary who helps oversee federal policy issues relating to all forms of transportation.

As the Transportation Committee's top Republican, Mica was responsible for legislation authorizing for the first time, private sector participation in the development of high-speed rail.  He has strongly advocated for cutting red tape to expedite the lengthy federal transportation infrastructure project approval process, and called for the development of a comprehensive and national strategic transportation plan, as well as private investment in the nation's high speed rail network.

Rod Diridon, Executive Director - Mineta Transportation Institute

Rod Diridon, Sr., has served as executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) created by Congress in 1991. Mr. Diridon has chaired more than 100 international, national, state and local programs, most related to transit and the environment. He frequently provides legislative testimony on sustainable transportation issues and is regarded by many as the "father" of modern transit service in Silicon Valley.

He was appointed by Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger, in 2001 and 2006, respectively, to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board, of which he is chair emeritus. After many years of public service in various capacities in California,
Santa Clara County renamed its main train station "San Jose Diridon Station" in his honor.

Beverley Swaim-Staley, President & CEO - Union Station Redevelopment Corp.

In September 2012, Beverley Swaim-Staley joined the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC) as President and Chief Executive Officer. As President, her primary task is the development and implementation of a comprehensive Master Plan for Union Station.

Ms. Swaim-Staley, whom most recently served as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) for three years, was the first woman to serve as Secretary with 10,000 employees and a $3.6 billion annual budget.  As Secretary, Ms. Swaim-Staley oversaw the only state department of transportation with direct supervision over all aspects of transportation including: the State’s highway, transit and rail networks; motor vehicles; Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport; and the Port of Baltimore.

With nearly 14 years of experience as Secretary, Deputy Transportation Secretary and Chief Financial Officer for MDOT, Ms. Swaim-Staley led MDOT in its first public-private partnership for the Maryland I-95 Travel Plazas, and the first airport redevelopment financed by Passenger Facility Charges (PFC) for the Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport.

From 2001-2002, while serving as Deputy Secretary, she also served as Executive Director of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, a period which encompassed the terrorist strike on 9/11 and the subsequent revolution in airport security. She also has been honored with a number of leadership awards, including: 2012 COMTO Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation Award.

Felix Leinemann, Transport Counselor - European Union

Felix Leinemann has been with the European Commission for nine years, working on a variety of transport files ranging from Inland Waterway Transport to Maritime Shipping, the European Union’s Global Navigation Satellite System Galileo, Intelligent Transport Systems, Aviation, Passenger Rights and International Affairs.

Prior to joining the Delegation of the European Union to the USA as Transport Counselor in March 2012, he worked as a member of the private office of European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport, and before that since 2010 as Assistant to the Director General for Mobility and Transport, a position in which he contributed strongly to the drafting of the European Commission’s 2011 White Paper on Transport, a policy strategy for the next decade.

Felix Leinemann holds a law degree including a PhD from the University of Freiburg, Germany, following studies in Freiburg, Germany, and Padova, Italy. Before joining the European Commission, he worked as a lawyer in Germany and France as well as a legal advisor and advocacy officer in Brussels.

Takis Salpeas, Senior Vice President, Director Global Rail - Parsons

Takis Salpeas is a rail executive with 30 years of progressive private- and public-sector experience in the development and implementation of large, complex public infrastructure projects, including more than 25 years of experience with all phases of transit system operations. In his role as Parsons’ director of global rail, Takis focuses on business development and is responsible for growing Parsons’ rail and transit systems business in markets around the world.

Takis has earned master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in both civil (MSCE) and systems (MSSE) engineering, along with a degree in economics from Athens University, and has published more than 70 professional papers, reports, and articles. A certified construction manager, Takis’ knowledge of engineering practices, economics, planning, and construction management, gleaned from both his extensive education and work experience, contributes to the successful implementation of projects and programs.

Before joining Parsons’ Rail and Transit Systems Division, Takis was responsible for managing $10 billion of rail transit planning, design, and construction in Washington, D.C. for the Washington Metro,  San Francisco for BART; and Philadelphia for SEPTA.

Doug Firstenberg, Principal - Stonebridge Associates

Douglas M. Firstenberg, a founding principal of Stonebridge, focuses on strategic planning and project conceptualization and takes a primary role in major transaction negotiation. He also co-manages StonebridgeCarras. He has more than 25 years of experience working on complex real estate financing and directing the implementation of the firm’s strategic plans.


Stonebridge is a real estate development and advisory firm that has created both outstanding projects and superior returns. For more than fifteen years, Stonebridge has focused on high quality mixed-use projects – office, retail, residential and hotel – that realize the broad benefits of transit-oriented development.

Key elements to its success are the experience and commitment of its principals. Through the integration of a diverse set of skills, teamwork and experience over several different cycles, the firm’s approach assures the delivery of an excellent project – one that meets or exceeds the expectations of its partners, lenders, tenants as well as its neighbors – leaving a lasting legacy of superior results and an enhanced community.


CA High Speed Rail Authority
Mineta Transportation Inst.
MTA Los Angeles
Balfour Beatty
Parsons Brinckerhoff
KCI Technologies
Louis Berger Group
GE Transportation
U.S.-Japan High Speed Rail
Central Japan Railway
East Japan Railway
Japan Int'l Transport Institute
CRCC (China)
TSDI (China)
CSR (China)
NDF (China)
TUC Rail
Hyundai Rotem
Kawasaki Rail Car
Virgin Rail
GKK Works
INC Group
Freeport McMoRan
Kelar Pacific
Caltrop Corporation
RBF Consulting
Sukut Construction
Riverside Co. Transport Comm.
So. CA Assn. of Gov'ts.
Julien, Inc.
Law Office of Sima Salek
Biggs Cardosa Associates
ENGEO Incorporated
V&A, Inc.
Ninyo & Moore
TY Lin International
Nova Consulting

Foster + Partners Architects
HOK Architects
SOM Architects
Dover Kohl
Urban Land Institute
Forest City
John Buck Company
Bentley Systems
Hatch Mott MacDonald
City of Anaheim
CH2M Hill
Kustom Seating
SMI International
First Southwest Investment Bank
Hill & Knowlton
Global-5 Communications
Sunbelt Rentals
Cordoba Corp.
Shaw Group
CA. HSR Authority
GPO, Inc.
Athalye Eng.
A Squared Ventures
Century Diversified
Twining, Inc
L.K. Comstock
Maintenance Design Group
Huffman-Broadway Group
MAJ Consulting
David Evans & Associates
Univ. of Illinois
Kimley-Horn and Associates
PQM, Inc.
Anil Verma Associates
Jack McKinnon Consulting
KOA Corporation
Voestalpine Nortrak
Gannett Fleming 

DLA Piper
Holland & Knight
Quarles and Brady
Parker Poe
Lockheed Martin
Northrop Grumman
Alion Science & Tech.
BAE Systems
Xpress West
Invensys Rail
Finley Engineering
Mc Dean
Archer Western
NKT Cables
Gov't. of Quebec
Wilbur Smith
Cal State U
New Age Industries
Twining, Inc.
Athalye Consulting Eng
Hahn Air
ABA Global
Harrison & Bonini
Wilson, Ihrig
Sharon Greene
David Evans and Associates
Overland, Pacific & Cutler
RailPros, Inc.
Nossaman LLP
EVRAZ-Ricky Mountain Steel
Diaz Yourman
Legion America
W2 Design, Inc.
ASM Affiliates
Consulate General of Japan
Korean Consulate
UK Trade & Investment
Herbert Smith Freehills 

Network with business and political leaders!
Don't miss this exciting high speed rail event of the year - High Speed Rail Summit DC!  The Nation's capital is the place to be this February 25-27.  

Business and political leaders will come together with the world's top experts to bring high speed rail to America.  

HSR connecting to DC
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