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French Train Exec Hired as CA High-Speed Rail Boss

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As expected, the president of Alstom, a French company that builds bullet trains, has been hired as the new CEO of the California high-speed rail authority, reports the Fresno Business Journal. Roelof van Ark will be able to attract private and public investment to the Anaheim to SF line, the mayor of Fresno told the Journal. The Sacramento Bee's Capitol Alert blog got a hold of the press release on the hire, which includes this: "the Authority also approved an annual salary of $375,000, substantially less than van Ark's current compensation in the private sector." The Los Angeles Times guessed correctly that the formerly New York-based executive would get the job in a story they had yesterday, a piece that also intimated that the hiring of van Ark could prompt conflict of interest questions. As recently as two months ago, "van Ark has signaled that his firm may want to invest in or bid on California’s high-speed rail project." [Image of Alstom-made Eurostar trains via]
· French Exec to Head High-Speed Rail Authority [FBJ]
· Rail Authority Names New Head [Sac Bee]