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Obama Amtrak nominee a Highstar executive

US President Barack Obama has nominated Highstar Capital director Christopher Beall to the board of Amtrak. Beall joined Highstar in 2004.

A longtime partner with infrastructure fund manager Highstar Capital has earned himself a presidential nomination to US government-owned rail operator Amtrak.

President Barack Obama in a White House press announcement nominated Christopher Beall as a director to the Amtrak board.

Beall began working for Highstar in 2004. Highstar began in 1998 under America International Group (AIG) before spinning out to become independently-owned. The company is run by public-private partnership (PPP) impresario Christopher H. Lee.

Like Lee, Beall has worked on Wall Street, putting his engineering background to use with Lehman Brothers before taking a job with Highstar. He is a Harvard Business School graduate.

Vocal Highstar founder Lee has lobbied Capitol Hill to create a national infrastructure bank.

Amtrak, meanwhile, has come under recent criticism from Florida Congressman John Mica, a Republican, lambasting the rail operator as “Soviet”.

The Republican Party in a report faulted Amtrak, which sued Veolia Transportation, for litigating against a private sector competitor.

Beall, based in New York, did not respond to a voicemail message seeking additional comment. Senate approval will be required to appoint him.

US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is currently a director on the Amtrak board.