Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

WEBINAR: Implementing the Future of Transportation - DOT Secretaries

US High Speed Rail Association
Sep 25, 2020


Join us for a conversation with transportation legends discussing high speed rail opportunities and the path to institutionalizing high speed rail in America. With the prospects of visionary new leadership and major funding for high speed rail right around the corner, America has the unique opportunity to rapidly advance high speed rail in the coming year, and transform our mobility options.

Learn about moving America into high speed rail on the national scale, and the rollout of a new federal high speed rail authority to expedite projects. Webinar speakers will discuss high speed rail development from a historical perspective and the unique milestones along the way each speaker helped lead.


Secretary Norm Mineta is an icon in American public service. He has served both Democratic and Republican presidents, and served in Congress for 20 years representing Silicon Valley and his hometown of San Jose, California, where he had been mayor. He was the first cabinet secretary since the Civil War to serve two presidents of opposing parties in consecutive terms. As the first Asian American cabinet secretary, he was President Clinton's Secretary of Commerce and President George W. Bush's Secretary of Transportation.

While in Congress, he served as chair of the House Transportation Committee. Among his accomplishments was the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) which was the first major revision of the nation's transportation public policy since President Eisenhower. It included reorganizing the Urban Mass Transit Administration (UMTA)  into the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and providing a renewed emphasis on our nation's rail and transit infrastructure.

He was the Secretary of Transportation on September 11, 2001 and led the recovery of our national transportation and infrastructure systems. For these accomplishments and others, Norman Y. Mineta was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006.

Secretary Ray LaHood led America into high speed rail during his term heading up the Department of Transportation, launching the new program and helping get the nation's first visionary high speed rail system going in California. He served as United States Secretary of Transportation from 2009 until 2013.

A Republican from Illinois, LaHood served previously as a Congressman represented Illinois's 18th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2009. He served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 1995 until 2000.

Following his time serving in Congress, he was appointed by President Obama to serve as the US Transportation Secretary, immediately launching the nation's first high speed rail national program and tirelessly advocating for high speed rail across America during his entire time in this role.

Rod Diridon, Sr. was the 1993 founding Executive Director of congress's Mineta Transportation Institute retiring to emeritus status in 2016. He is considered the "father" of modern transit service in Silicon Valley. After his BS and MSBA in statistics from San Jose State University, Rod complete two Vietnam combat tours as a navel officer before his public service career. He was elected in 1971 as a Saratoga City Councilmember going on in 1974 to served 20 years, six times as chair, of Silicon Valley's Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and Transit Board.

He chaired nine successful rail construction projects. Upon his 1995 retirement from pubic office the region's main train station was rededicated the "San Jose Diridon Station". He served over ten years, appointed by both Democrat and Republican governors, and is chair emeritus of the California High Speed Rail Authority and chair emeritus of the US High Speed Rail Association. Rod chaired over 100 local to international transit committees and projects. He provides legislative testimony and conference keynotes on sustainability around the world.

Seating in limited, register today!

Published on:
September 14, 2020 - 1:20pm
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email