Western High Speed Rail Alliance announces speakers at transportation planning conference – Oct 13-15

Las Vegas Oct. 6, 2010 – The Western High Speed Rail Alliance announced that Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) will be the keynote speaker at “The Rail Ahead” Conference, Friday, October 15, 2010in Las Vegas. Sen. Bennett is one of more than 40 government and transportation leaders scheduled to speak during a conference where attendees will map policy recommendations to facilitate high-speed passenger rail construction in a five-state area of the intermountain West. 


The Western High Speed Rail Alliance (WHSRA) is the Western United States’  only effort to establish an integrated network of high-speed passenger rail connecting the West’s key population centers of Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Reno, Nev.  The planning authorities that are members of the WHSRA are sharing their expertise and resources to integrate high-speed rail routes into President Obama’s national high speed rail vision.


During the conference October 13-15, speakers will address the structure and funding of a national high-speed rail system, the role regional cooperatives can play in building a national system, and the federal authority needed to oversee and manage high-speed rail.


Members of the Alliance are Denver Regional Council of Governments in Colorado, the Maricopa Association of Governments in Phoenix, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Reno, Nev., and the Utah Transit Authority in Salt Lake City. 


Sen. Bennett will speak at the conference’s closing session on Friday, October. 15. A member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Energy and Natural Resources Committee, he is completing his third term in the Senate.


Additional speakers at “The Rail Ahead” Conference include:


From Arizona

Scott Smith — Mayor, City of Mesa, Ariz.

Shannon Scutari — Director - state rail and sustainability services, Arizona Department of Transportation


From California

Bill Bronte — Chief - rail division, California Department of Transportation

Rod Diridon, Sr. — Board member, California High Speed Rail Authority; executive director, Mineta Transportation Institute

Steve Heminger — Executive director, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, San Francisco Bay Area


From Colorado

Mark Imhoff — Director - division of transit and rail, Colorado Department of Transportation

Doug Lehnen — Vice chairman, Rocky Mountain Rail Authority


From Nevada

Rep. Dina Titus — U.S. Representative, District 3, Nevada

Susan Martinovich — Director, Nevada Department of Transportation

Oscar Goodman — Mayor, City of Las Vegas

Larry Brown — Commissioner, Clark County; chairman of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada

Jacob Snow — Chairman of the WHSRA; general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada


From Utah

John Inglish — CEO , Utah Transit Authority


From Washington, D.C.

Karen Hedlund — Chief counsel, Federal Railroad Administration

Mike Schneider — Managing partner, InfraConsult; co-chair, American Public Transportation Association Public Private Partnerships Committee

Bill Millar — President American Public Transportation Association

Janet Kavinoky — Director of transportation infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and executive director of Americans for Transportation Mobility

Stephen Gardner — Vice president of policy and development, Amtrak


The conference is sponsored in part by AECOM, CH2M Hill, Parsons Brinkerhoff, and HNTB. For more information about the conference or to register and attend, visit www.whsra.com/railahead



The Western High-Speed Rail Alliance exists for the purpose of developing and promoting a high-speed rail (HSR) network to serve commuters and transport goods throughout the intermountain West region. Establishing critical corridors between the Pacific Coast and other regions of the United States will invigorate local economies, assist job creation and retention, improve our environment and enable a better quality of life. Members of the Alliance agree to work jointly for the acquisition of funding, planning and construction of high-speed rail corridors across a five-state region. www.whsra.com