Amtrak has named the head of the Federal Railroad Administration, Joseph H. Boardman, to be the company's president and CEO, on a one-year appointment. The passenger railroad said that Boardman, who had been FRA Administrator since 2005, began his new job on Nov. 26.
Board Chairman Donna McLean said the company will undertake a search for a permanent CEO. Boardman could be a candidate for the permanent CEO post, says Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black.
At FRA, Boardman was the U.S. Dept. of Transportation's designee on Amtrak's board. Before coming to the rail agency, he was commissioner of the New York State Dept. of Transportation from 1997 to 2005. He also chaired the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials' rail transportation committee from 2000 to 2005.
Boardman said, "Over the past decade--in one capacity or another--I have been an active participant in the affairs of Amtrak. I have come to know the company, the culture, a number of employees, and I am keenly aware of the challenges facing us right now." He added, "In my view, a national intercity, interconnected passenger rail service is critically important for the mobility and energy independence of the United States."
Boardman assumes his new post shortly after enactment of a major Amtrak reauthorization bill, which, among other things, authorizes $13 billion for the railroad over five years, including $5.3 billion for capital projects.
The legislation also authorizes $1.5 billion over five years in grants to states or Amtrak itself to construct high-speed rail projects in up to 11 corridors around the country. The measure permits the DOT secretary to recommend high-speed rail proposals from the private sector in the corridors, too.
Amtrak Chief Operating Officer William L. Crosbie has been the railroad's acting president since Nov. 14, when Alexander Kummant resigned the top position. Amtrak spokesman Black says Kummant's "management direction and approach differed from that of the board."