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Some exciting news! I've recently been hired on a new position as chief executive to the Transportation Corridor Agencies in Irvine, California. I look forward to this new position as it takes me back to my transportation industry roots, as I will be overseeing the operations and construction of Orange County's toll roads. An excerpt from the thorough article written by Jane Yu of the Orange County Business Journal can be found below, as well as a link to the entire story on ocbj.com.
New CEO for Toll Roads
Friday, May 17, 2013
Transportation industry veteran Neil Peterson has agreed to take the chief executive post of the Transportation Corridor Agencies in Irvine.
He will start on June 3, succeeding Tom Margro, who retired last year. The agencies' chief communication officer, Lisa Telles, has been serving as interim CEO.
The Transportation Corridor Agencies are two joint authorities formed by the state legislature in 1986 to oversee the construction and operations of Orange County's toll roads. Transactions on toll roads brought in $237.5 million in revenue in the 12-month period through June.
I recently received a very nice testimonial from one of my last events where I was keynote speaker. I was able to speak at the Western Winter Workshop 2013 for the AACE International. It was a fun event and I enjoyed every minute of my presentation, and so did the audience. Below is a testimonial from Julie Owen who organized the event.
"We were extremely lucky to have Neil Peterson as a keynote speaker for the 2013 Western Winter Workshop. He spoke of the terrifying experience he and his family experienced in surviving the rogue wave and being trapped in a cave. Neil has a fantastic talent to connect with every member of an audience. His speech had our group of over 150 attendees mesmerized. Our group will never forget his performance."
A while back I had the honor of being selected as one of the "80 Men to Change the World". The site is in French, but you can use a translator to read the article. It covers my work with a car-sharing program called "Flexcar", now known as "Zipcar".
I have always loved trains – they have always occupied a sweet spot in travel for me between the intimate contact with the land that car travel offers and the fast, but depersonalized and remote sense you get from air travel. I had resigned myself to the fact that passenger trains might one day disappear altogether. But a confluence of political, environmental and economic factors has the potential to return the train to a prominent spot on the nation’s transportation agenda.
Recently President Obama announced $8 billion in grants for high speed rail. The program is aimed at creating high speed intercity rail in a number of regions across the country. In particular, the grants will give a boost to projects already underway in Florida, Illinois and California. At the same, the President hopes to provide some job stimulus. Some of the potential high speed rail lines are shown in the map below.
Joe Biden summarized the vision of a true high speed rail network:
What we’re talking about is a vision for high-speed rail in America. Imagine boarding a train in the center of a city. No racing to an airport and across a terminal, no delays, no sitting on the tarmac, no lost luggage, no taking off your shoes. (Laughter.) Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your destination. Imagine what a great project that would be to rebuild America.
Now, all of you know this is not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future. It is now. It is happening right now. It’s been happening for decades. The problem is it’s been happening elsewhere, not here.
However, the plan has its critics. For example, Representative John L. Mica from Florida doubted whether the planned line from Orlando to Tampa, which received $1.25 billion in government funds, was a worthwhile investment since it would only save travelers about 30 minutes on a trip that normally takes 90 minutes by car. Other criticisms have focused on cost to benefit considerations and the poor track record of passenger rail service.
High Speed Rail in the US
But sometimes the ROI for infrastructure investments is difficult to assess. No doubt there were critics of our investment in the national highway system, but its benefits have been immense. A well conceived high speed rail system could yield similar benefits over time. We just need the wisdom, tenacity and courage to get started and see it through.