California hires new high-speed rail chief

Roelof van Ark will begin his term as the CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority beginning 1 June. He previously served as the President of Alstom Transportation.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority has named Roelof van Ark as its new chief executive officer, who will become just the second top manager since the Authority was formed in 1996.

Van Ark comes to the Authority from French high-speed train manufacturer Alstom. At Alstom, he served as the president of its North American operations, based in New York.

He will begin his new position 1 June and his salary will be $375,000 per year, the Authority said in a statement.

Van Ark’s appointment comes in the wake of the Authority’s $2.25 billion great from the US Department of Transportation’s share of stimulus funding to help make its 800-mile network of high-speed rail system a reality. California plans on combining that capital with state, local and private funds to deliver the $42.6 billion project.

Van Ark will succeed Mehdi Morshed, who retired after serving as the Authority’s Executive Director from 1998 to 2010.