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JOHN BARNA: Senior Advisor


BS, Communication Studies, Northwestern University, 1981
Graduate Coursework, Rhetoric, University of California, Davis


Mr. Barna is president of Anrab Associates. He assists private- and public-sector clients to develop and pursue infrastructure initiatives, projects, and funding. Prior to this role, he was vice president and director of AECOM’s high-speed rail practice in the United States.


Previously, Mr. Barna was executive director of the California Transportation Commission, an independent state commission responsible for programming and funding several billion dollars annually for transportation projects in partnership with regional transportation agencies and the California Department of Transportation. The commission is also responsible for advising the California Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency and the California Legislature on key transportation policy matters. 


Prior to the commission, Mr. Barna was deputy secretary for transportation at the California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency. He was responsible for transportation policy development and implementation for former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration in Sacramento. He oversaw such areas as state and federal transportation funding and transportation project delivery. He was integrally involved in the GoCalifornia policy effort, the state’s Goods Movement Action Plan and the development of the transportation elements of the Governor’s Strategic Growth Plan.
Professional Experience


AECOM. Vice President and Director of AECOM’s high-speed rail practice from 2009 to 2014. In this role, he helped coordinate the company’s high-speed rail services and the pursuit of high-speed rail business nationwide, as well as serving as the principal spokesman on high-speed rail issues.

California Transportation Commission. Executive Director from December 2005 to March 2009. The California Transportation Commission is an independent agency of California government that allocates approximately $4billion annually to all modes of transportation projects statewide. Serving at the pleasure of the 11 members of the Commission (nine appointed by the Governor, one by the Speaker of the Assembly, and one by the Senate Rules Committee), responsible for all Commission activities with a staff of 17 and an annual budget of $3 million. The Commission adopts, allocates, and oversees the State Transportation Improvement Program, a five-year $6 billion capacity capital program; the State Highway Operation and Protection Program, a four-year $8.5 billion major rehabilitation capital program; and the Traffic Congestion Relief Program, a $4.5 billion earmark capital program. Since 2006, the Commission has developed seven new capital programs, worth approximately $12 billion, as part of Proposition 1B, a voter-approved general obligation bond program for transportation. Responsible for developing guidelines, adopting program of projects, allocating funding, and overseeing program and project accountability. Major new programs include the $4.5 billion Corridor Mobility Improvement Account, the $3 billion Trade Corridors Improvement Fund, first major statewide goods movement capital program in the nation), the $1 billion State Local Partnership Program, and the $1 billion SR 99 Improvement Program. Responsible for implementing $950 million in intercity and commuter rail project funding as part of the recently approved statewide High-Speed Rail Bond. Served as member of the Toll Bridge Project Oversight Committee, and legislatively developed the ownership committee for the state’s toll bridge retrofit and replacement program. Acted as one of three owner-decision-makers for activities implementing the seven construction contracts for the new $5.6 billion eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Oversaw the approval of a new high-occupancy toll project proposals (per AB 1467) for the Riverside County Transportation Commission’s I-15 toll project and Los Angeles Metro’s I-10 and I-110 toll project. Initiated formal outreach efforts with environmental agencies and stakeholders to implement AB 32 and SB 375 greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts in the transportation sector. Served as major transportation policy advisor to the state legislature and the Secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.


Transportation and Housing Agency, California Business. Deputy Secretary for Transportation from May 2005 to December 2005. Appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the top transportation policy maker at this cabinet-level agency responsible for 15 departments dealing with transportation, business licensing and regulation, and housing policy. Reporting to Secretary Sunne Wright McPeak, had day-to-day responsibility for oversight of the Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Served as liaison to the independent California Transportation Commission, and served as a member of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC). Responsible for transportation policy development related to planning, programming, and funding. Advised administration and coordinated with Caltrans and stakeholders on the federal Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). Responsible for the implementation of the GoCalifornia mobility initiative and for the infrastructure elements of the Governor’s Goods Movement Action Plan.

Anrab Associates. President from April 2004 to May 2005. Anrab Associates assisted businesses, coalitions, associations, and governmental agencies to plan, program, fund, and implement major transportation infrastructure projects. The firm specialized in large, complex and expensive projects. Handled all aspects of the business, from new business to client service to program/project management to working with various levels of governmental decision makers. Clients included Planning Company Associates, Catellus Corporation, DMB Realty, City of El Segundo, Gateway Cities Council of Governments, Hearst Corporation, Lewis Operating Company, Long Beach City College, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Metro, the Walt Disney Company, and Woodlands LLC. 


Planning Company Associates. Vice President from August 2001 to March 2004. Planning Company Associates, Inc. is a small consulting firm that focuses on helping businesses, developers, coalitions, associations, cities, and counties to plan, program, fund, and implement major transportation projects. Duties included business development, project identification, preparation of funding and financing proposals, and program/project management. Clients served included Boeing Corporation, Catellus Corporation, City Centre Development, DMB Realty, Hearst Corporation, Lewis Operating Company, Los Angeles Dodgers, Playa Vista, and the Walt Disney Company. Projects included: securing a commitment by Caltrans District 7 to initiate a $100 million State Highway Operations Protection and Preservation (SHOPP) program on the Harbor Freeway in downtown Los Angeles; initiating a pilot shuttle program for the Los Angeles Dodgers to connect transit riders at Los Angeles Union Station and the Chinatown Gold Line Station to Dodger Stadium; and managing nearly $100 million in capacity improvements on SR-134 and I-5 in Glendale and Burbank to serve economic development in the media industry. 


California High-Speed Rail Authority. Deputy Executive Director from January 1999 to June 2001. The California High-Speed Rail Authority is statutorily designated with planning, funding, and implementing a 700-mile high-speed train system for California. Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson to help establish the authority and worked on all details of starting a new state agency. Wrote the authority’s business plan, which was presented to the legislature in 2000. Helped devise the programmatic environmental impact report/study strategy for the largest transportation project the state has ever undertaken. Managed the systems planning, regional planning, financial planning, and public affairs duties of the authority. Served as project manager for the programmatic environmental work on the Bakersfield-Los Angeles Corridor and the Los Angeles-Inland Empire-San Diego Corridor. Managed contracts totaling more than $7 million. 


California Business Transportation and Housing Agency. Deputy Secretary for Transportation from July 1996 to December 1998, and Deputy Secretary for Public Affairs from May 1995 to June 1996. Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson to both positions at the state’s cabinet-level agency responsible for 14 departments covering transportation, housing policy and business regulatory activities. Initially served as head of public affairs managing the communications aspects of the agency and its departments, writing speeches for Secretary Dean Dunphy and other agency executives, and acting as the agency’s spokesperson on transportation and business regulatory issues. As deputy secretary for transportation, had day-to-day responsibility for the activities of Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol. Was responsible for approving the departments’ annual budgets and budget change proposals. Was responsible for approving policy development at the departments, including coordinating legislative activities. Served as the Wilson Administration’s staff point person for resolving the toll bridge seismic retrofit funding stalemate (SB 60), managing the development and communication of new designs for the eastern span of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge, reforming State Transportation Investment Program (STIP) planning and programming (SB 45), implementing STIP reform with the 1998 STIP, and overseeing the development and adoption of the $5-billion 1998 STIP. Coordinated the Administration’s successful legislative activities to establish a transportation component to the State Infrastructure Bank and to create the Pasadena Blue Line Construction Authority to finish construction of what is now the Gold Line Light Rail Line. Assisted in the Wilson Administration’s efforts on TEA-21, the federal reauthorization of transportation in 1997. Assisted in the creation of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. 


Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California. Director of College Relations from May 1993 to May 1995. Harvey Mudd College is the undergraduate science college of the Claremont Colleges and consistently ranked as one of the nation’s premier institutions for the sciences. Served on the executive management team of the college. Was responsible for all communications activities, from course catalog to quarterly magazines to media relations to speechwriting. Managed a staff of five and a budget of nearly $500,000. Chaired the college’s disciplinary appeals board. 


Braun Ketchum Public Relations, Los Angeles, California. Vice President from January 1990 to May 1993,

Account Supervisor from May 1987 to January 1990, and Account Executive from May 1985 to May 1987.

Braun & Company was one of Southern California’s oldest, most prestigious communications firms when it merged with Ketchum Public Relations in 1991. Participated in all aspects of public relations, marketing communications, investor relations, and public affairs at the firm. Major clients served were: Great Western Financial Corporation, Los Angeles Department of Airports, Mobil Oil Corporation, Prudential Real Estate Services, Shell Oil Company, Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink), Star System, and Transamerica Life Companies. Major projects included: managing the marketing and communications for the launch of the Metrolink commuter rail service in Southern California; writing the Great Western Financial Corporation 1988 annual report; writing speeches and investor presentations for the chairman, chief executive officer, and president of Great Western; writing annual reports for Star System; managing Individual Retirement Account (IRA) publicity for Great Western; and producing videos for the Los Angeles Department of Airports and Shell Oil Company. 

California Department of Commerce. Communications Specialist from September 1983 to May 1985. Governor Deukmejian transformed the California Business and Economic Development Department into the Department of Commerce in 1983 and charged the department with retaining existing businesses and attracting new ones to California. Served as communications generalist for the department, writing press releases, reports and speeches and communicating with the media. Helped coordinate California’s first-ever marketing campaigns to attract business and support tourism. 

University of California Davis. Public Speaking Instructor from January 1982 to June 1983. Taught undergraduate public speaking courses at the university. Also provided speech coaching and speechwriting services to various faculty members.

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