High-Speed Revolving Door

by CalWatchdog Staff | January 7, 2011 9:22 am

Anthony Pignataro:

You don’t have to watch politics very long before you see that top people move more or less freely from the public sector — where they develop much expertise at taxpayer expense — to the private sector — whey they cash in on that service, then turn around and start grabbing even more tax dollars in the form of government contracts.

This is nicely illustrated in a press release I received last night. Titled, “Caltrain[1]‘s Head of High-Speed Rail Partnership Moves to Private Sector,” the statement detailed how Robert L. Doty, the Peninsula Rail Program (PRP) director and top liaison between Caltrain and the California High-Speed Rail Authority[2], will join the engineering firm HNTB [3]on Jan. 21.

“We created the PRP to take full advantage of Bob Doty and his unique experience and expertise across the globe in designing and delivering large-scale rail projects,” Caltrain executive director Mike Scanlon said in the release. “It is no surprise that a man of Bob’s talents and expertise is being snatched up by one of the firms that wants to be a player in the domestic high-speed rail competition.”

Oh my. HNTB “wants to be a player.” HNTB, which was a big donor to the $10 billion Prop 1A campaign back in 2008 that really started the state’s bullet train dreams, is today the beneficiary of millions of dollars in high-speed rail money, both as a contractor and sub-contractor (click here [4]to read my recent story on HSR contractors).

Oh yes, HNTB is already a major player. Which is why I wasn’t surprised to read the following curiously worded paragraph in the Caltrain press release:

“Doty would not discuss the details of the compensation associated with his new position in the private sector, except to say it is expected to be ‘substantially more’ than the $178,000 per year he was paid as director of the Peninsula Rail Program.”

JAN. 7, 2011

  1. Caltrain: http://www.caltrain.com/site3.aspx
  2. California High-Speed Rail Authority: http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/
  3. HNTB : http://www.hntb.com/
  4. here : http://www.calwatchdog.com/2010/11/15/rail-firms-lack-accountability/

Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2011/01/07/high-speed-revolving-door/