Gov. Jerry Brown Appoints Former BART Board Member to CHSRA Board
With Curt Pringle’s recent resignation from the California High Speed Rail Authority board, Governor Jerry Brown had another opportunity to make an appointment to the board. Yesterday he announced his choice: Dan Richard. Richard and Brown have deep ties, as Richard served in the Brown Administration in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a deputy legal affairs secretary and deputy assistant for science and technology.
Richard also has extensive experience with passenger rail in California, having served from 1992 to 2004 as a member of the BART board of directors. From 1997 to 2006 he was Senior Vice President of public policy and governmental relations at PG&E, which will help the HSR project remain well-connected with Bay Area businesses.
There’s really only one way to read this appointment: as further evidence that Gov. Brown remains as deeply committed to the HSR project now as he was when he was governor 30 years ago. Richard was deputy legal affairs secretary for Gov. Brown in 1982, when the first California high speed rail project was in its planning stages. While I’m not sure how deeply involved he was in that project, it would stand to reason that Richard did have some engagement with it, and almost certainly shares the governor’s strong backing of HSR.
Once again, it seems that HSR critics and opponents who were hoping that Gov. Brown would side with them are finding their hopes dashed. And that’s good. As the governor said earlier this week, “I would like to be part of the group that gets America to think big again.” Dan Richard is part of that group too. And the California HSR project will continue forward.