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UPDATED: Obama nominates Anthony Coscia to Amtrak board

This news comes from Railway Age.

President Barack Obama nominated a top official at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to serve on Amtrak’s board of directors. Anthony Coscia has been chairman of the Port Authority’s board of commissioners since April 2003.

UPDATE: A reader posted the link to the official White House announcement, which names two proposed directors for the Amtrak board.

Bert DiClemente, Nominee for Director, AMTRAK Board of Directors
Bert DiClemente is currently serving as the Vice President of CB Richard Ellis, Inc., which is the largest commercial real estate company in the world. He has been serving in this capacity since 2003. Prior to this position, he worked for Insignia/ESG and Jackson Cross & Associates as Director and Associate Director.   He was responsible for the leasing and selling of commercial real estate and represented a number of Fortune 500 Companies.   Mr. DiClemente also served from 1977-1997 as the State Director for then-Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. in Wilmington, DE.  In this capacity, he was responsible for three statewide Senate offices and was a senior staff advisor to the Senator on all issues and policies related to the State of Delaware. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a B.A. in political science.

This is good news. The Board needs to be at full strength. The next shoe dropping will be that of Mr. Boardman. Stay tuned.

(And I don’t have any inside information. There is a decision due there soon and you have to believe that current President is a long-shot.)

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Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics

11 Responses

  1. aw says:

    There was also another nominee to the board. This one didn’t have a direct rail background which is probably why Railway Age did not mention him. Here’s the original White House press release: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/President-Obama-Announces-More-Key-Administration-Posts-10/5/09/

  2. Peter Laws says:

    I hadn’t realized there were two either. Two NEC appointees. Wonder if the rest of the country will get any nominees?

  3. Looks to me like they are loading the board with corridorists whose only knowledge is of the NEC area. This does not bode well for long distance rail, IMHO.

    As for Boardman being a short-timer, why would we say that when the board is being apparently loaded with his former buddies.

  4. HockeyFan says:

    My guess is that Boardman will stay while the board is filled up. Amtrak has enough problems without a revolving door of presidents. Give him 2-3 years to produce tangible results (eg new cars, locos, electrification, etc). He has the wind at his back so he should be able to get some good things done compared to some of his luckless predecessors. If not, then we know he’s just another bureaucrat content to let time and opportunity slip by.

  5. Woody says:

    “Mr. DiClemente also served from 1977-1997 as the State Director for then-Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. in Wilmington, DE. … a senior staff advisor on all issues and policies related to the State of Delaware.”

    I don’t see how this is bad news. He is gonna be Biden’s guy on the Amtrak Board. Yeah, he has a Delaware background, so that’s NEC. But if Biden isn’t our friend, we should just shoot ourselves.

    And nothing in this release suggests he’s “one of Boardman’s buddies.” I do assume the Port Authority guy is a buddy, but that’s only one.

    It’s real progress to fill out the board with heavy hitters. Compare to leaving it with so many vacancies they could not summon a quorum, as Bush did.

    If I read it right, Amtrak’s Board is supposed to have nine members.

    It has these five currently:

    Mr. Joseph H. Boardman
    Amtrak President and CEO
    (former NYS official)

    Mr. Thomas C. Carper
    Chairman of the Board
    (former Mayor, IL)

    The Honorable Ray LaHood
    U.S. Secretary of Transportation
    (former Cong from IL)

    Ms. Donna McLean
    Vice Chairman of the Board
    (degrees from Indiana U,
    now lobbyist in D.C.)

    Ms. Nancy A. Naples
    (former NYS official)

    And two more with this announcement and the Senate’s confirmation (never a sure or timely thing).

    So still two more to be appointed. With this section of law applying: The President shall “try to provide adequate and balanced representation of the major geographic regions of the United States served by Amtrak.” It does appear that the South and West are completely unrepresented.

  6. [...] This news comes from Railway Age. President Barack Obama nominated a top official at the Port Author… [...]

  7. Woody says:

    Aren’t these board members also supposed to be from both parties in almost equal numbers? It’s not Obama’s fault that most of the Repubs outside the area of the NEC are Ayn Rand cultists and hate Amtrak as part of their core belief system.

    But I’d guess that Boardman and Naples, both one-time appointees of the former NY Gov Pataki are registered Repubs themselves. McLean worked for Bush in the Dept of Transportation. LaHood is technically a Repub. Now Coscia of the Port Authority is probably a registered Repub, if appointed by Pataki and the Dem Gov of NJ back in ’03.

    Now Obama needs to come up with a couple of Democrats from outside the NEC. Preferably at least one from Flyoverland, where Amtrak long distance trains are important. That should be possible.

  8. Allan says:

    Woody, “… most of the Repubs outside the area of the NEC are Ayn Rand cultists and hate Amtrak as part of their core belief system.”

    None of Randians, libertarians, or even republicans that I know “hate” Amtrak. But they do want accountability, good management, (both lacking) along with it acting like a passenger railroad that can make a profit rather than an overgrown, subsidized transit system.

  9. Woody says:

    The process is moving along. Confirmation hearing for one appointee was last week.

    (The following story by Herb Jackson appeared on The Record website on November 19, 2009.)

    [fyi That's Bergen, N.J.]

    Better management needed aboard Amtrak, panel told

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amtrak needs to upgrade its management and accounting controls “to gain the trust of the general public and Congress” if it wants to grow in the future, a New Jersey nominee to the railroad’s board of directors told a Senate committee Wednesday.

    “Amtrak’s leadership, including its board, must make every effort to conduct itself and the business of the agency a transparent manner,” Anthony Coscia told the Senate’s transportation committee at a confirmation hearing.

    http://www.ble.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=28373

  10. Woody says:

    Better info on the hearings for both nominees on the NARP News page.

    http://www.narprail.org/cms/index.php/hotline/more/hotline_630/

    Sen Kay Bailey Hutchison (R -TX) said, “I have been a strong supporter of Amtrak. It is a partnership that is based on the national concept. Are you committed to the national system, not just the Northeast Corridor which has gotten most of the resources and where Amtrak owns the tracks and it’s easier?”

    Coscia responded, “Yes. There are many metro areas outside the NEC…”

    Albert (Bert) DiClemente said, “When Amtrak was chartered, it was to be a national system. I agree with that.”

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