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POLITICS/TRANSPORTATION: California High-Speed Rail Authority, former Caltrans director Jeff Morales named as new CHSRA executive director....

* Sacramento Bee:  "High-speed rail board picks former Caltrans chief to lead agency" - From the Bee:

The California High-Speed Rail Authority voted this morning to hire as executive director a former Caltrans chief who now works for Parsons Brinckerhoff, a major contractor on the rail project.

Pending contract negotiations, Jeff Morales will replace Roelof van Ark, who resigned from the troubled agency earlier this year. The rail authority is seeking legislative approval in coming weeks to start construction of the $68 billion project. The board is expected to finalize a contract with Morales after negotiating with him on its terms.

Morales was appointed director of Caltrans by Gov. Gray Davis and resigned in 2004. Parsons Brinckerhoff has a $199 million, seven-year contract to manage the rail project for the state authority........