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Guest on The Infra Blog: Frank Vacca, Chief Program Manager, California High-Speed Rail Authority

Posted by Content Coordinator on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Frank Vacca, Chief Program Manager, CHSRACAHSRA is responsible for planning, designing, building and operating the first high-speed rail system in the nation. California high-speed rail will connect the mega-regions of the state, contribute to economic development and a cleaner environment, create jobs and preserve agricultural and protected lands.

As of Oct. 2012, Frank Vacca has been the Chief Program Manager for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. In his role, Vacca leads technical and engineering teams as they focus on delivering the high-speed rail project.

Vacca has a long and varied background in rail management, most recently as the Chief Engineer of Amtrak – a position he has held since 2006. He has held several other key positions with the national rail line. Vacca was also the Deputy General Manager for Infrastructure Engineering at New Jersey Transit. Vacca has more than 35 years of experience in commuter, inter-city and high-speed passenger rail systems.

High-Speed Rail is Already Under Construction in California
There’s nothing more exciting than the high-speed rail program and project…I believe California will be the first high-speed-rail system in North America…We’ve overcome all the legal challenges before us…We have the first billion-dollar contract, and the designs are mature enough to start construction…So there’s nothing, no obstacles, in front of us right now.

San Francisco to Los Angeles: Building in Segments
You can’t wake up one morning and have 500 miles of railroad constructed. It takes time, and you do a segmental approach, not unlike the Highway System…We’ll be working on three major segments at the same time, and then once they get closer to completion we’ll fill the gaps to finish the entire program.

HSR Projects in Progress Around the Country
Texas high-speed rail is a great program that’s moving forward on environmental right now between Houston and Dallas. Express West is also another high-speed-rail program that is continuing to make progress. We are coordinating with both of those programs to make sure that we are in lock step with our development so that we have a system in the U.S. that is coordinated.

We Need Strong Infrastructure Leadership
The infrastructure situation in this country is becoming critical in all modes of transportation…We need leaders, and leadership, to bring that forward in the policy perspective because it is so foundational for our economy, for transportation, and for all walks of life and for everyone here.

Download full transcript (PDF): Frank Vacca on The Infra Blog

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