Executive Director, Mineta Transportation Institute
Rod Diridon, Sr., the son of an immigrant Italian railroad brakeman, is the “father” of modern transit service in California’s Silicon Valley (Santa Clara County). His political career began in 1972 as the youngest person ever elected to the Saratoga City Council. He recently retired because of term limits, after completing 20 years and six terms as chairperson of both the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and Transit Board. He is the only person to have chaired the San Francisco Bay Area’s (nine counties and 104 cities) three regional governments: the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the Association of Bay Area Governments.
Rod has chaired over 100 international, national, state and local community service programs and projects, most related to transit and the environment. He served, in 1993, as the chairperson of the American Public Transit Association in Washington, D.C., and more recently as the North American Vice President of the International Transit Association in Brussels. He has been an advisor to the Federal Transit Administration and in 1995 chaired the National Research Council’s Transit Oversight and Project Selection Committee. Rod currently chairs the NRC’s Transportation Research Board’s study panel on “Combating Global Warming Through Sustainable Transportation Policy.” He is frequently asked to provide testimony to Congressional Committees. He has served on the operating policy boards for CalTrain, the Capital Train (Sacramento to Silicon Valley), the Altamont Commuter Express Train (ACE, from Stockton to Silicon Valley), and others. In mid 2001, he was appointed by the Governor to the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) Board, which he was subsequently elected to chair.