MTA Headquarters, Union Station, December 3-5, 2012WASHINGTON and SAN JOSE, Calif., Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The US High Speed Rail Association (USHSR) has appointed Rod Diridon, executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), as Chairman of the Advisory Board of the US High Speed Rail Association. He will assume this new role at the High Speed Rail Conference in Los Angeles. The event is set for Monday-Wednesday, December 3-5. The conference comes on the heels of the California legislature voting to move forward with the first $6 billion phase of the statewide system. ( Journalists are welcome. See note at the end.) (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100318/MTILOGO) "We are very proud to have Rod Diridon chair our Advisory Board and headline our conference," said Andy Kunz, USHSR President and CEO. "Rod is a great leader and one of the strongest advocates for high speed rail in America. We welcome his participation." Mr. Diridon, who will give a keynote address at the conference, said, "The presidential election affirmed the people's desire to renew the nation's transportation infrastructure. High-speed rail is this nation's most seriously deficient mode of sustainable transport. Led by California, the nation is about to catch up with the rest of the world. The US High Speed Rail Association and other progressive transportation leaders are guiding the way so our nation can become a leader again." The Rail Conference will address numerous issues vital to high-speed rail, including the benefits, opportunities, and challenges of a major new infrastructure project; project updates from California, Texas, Illinois, New York, the Southwest, and more; how US mayors are preparing for 21st century transportation, economic development, major real estate investment, new facilities, and jobs; conditions for investing, an infrastructure bank, public-private partnerships, and developing legislation to encourage private involvement in HSR systems; major real estate developments at rail stations; first-hand experience from other countries; and much more. Speakers include many leading experts, such as California Governor Jerry Brown (invited); US Congress Member Loretta Sanchez; California State Senator Leland Yee; California Assembly Members Fiona Ma and Norma Torres; Mayor of Irving TX Beth Van Duyne; LA Deputy Mayor for Transportation Borja Leon; USHSR CEO Andy Kunz; and President of GEODATA Italy Piergiorgio Grasso. Also, Dominic Spaethling of Parsons Brinckerhoff; Dan Krause of Californians for HSR; Tim Smart of CH2M Hill; Patricia Petitto of IRWA; Joe Reed of Balfour Beatty Capital; Dwayne Sampson of MTA New York; Rick Harnish of Midwest HSRA; Katherine Perez of ELP Advisors; and many more. For information or to register, go to http://www.ushsr.com/laprogram2012.htmlABOUT ROD DIRIDON Mr. Diridon has been executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) since 1995, a transportation policy research center created in 1991 by Congress. He is known as the "father of modern transit service" in Silicon Valley and has chaired more than 100 international, national, state and local programs, most related to transit and the environment. He frequently provides legislative testimony on sustainable transportation issues. Mr. Diridon was appointed in 2001 and 2005 by Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger, respectively, to the California High Speed Rail Authority Board of which he is chair emeritus. He served as president of the national Council of University Transportation Centers.