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New General Manager Jim Hartnett Background and Experience

New General Manager Jim Hartnett Background and Experience


Jim Hartnett, 64, an attorney and Redwood City resident, served more than a decade on both the District and the Caltrain boards of directors and has served both boards as chair.

During his tenure, and with his considerable leadership, the services provided by both Caltrain and SamTrans were significantly redesigned and reinvented. The Caltrain Baby Bullet service launched during Hartnett’s time on the board. When the board voted to partner with High Speed Rail, Hartnett authored an amendment requiring that any activities by HSR be consistent with Caltrain current and future rail service. He advocated successfully for a budget reserve policy.

He was appointed four years ago to the California High Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors, where he served most recently as vice chair. He has resigned from that board. He is considered a key figure in the reorientation of High Speed Rail to a more collaborative partnership on the Peninsula and was active in winning legislative support and funding for the program, specifically working with the Legislature to ensure High Speed Rail’s early investment funds include the Caltrain Modernization Program.

He chaired the Dumbarton Rail Policy Committee, a partnership of representatives from San Mateo, Alameda and Santa Clara counties exploring the development of rail service across the San Francisco Bay.

He served 15 years  on the Redwood City City Council, including terms as mayor and vice mayor.

During his service on the council, he mediated a dispute between the Port of Redwood City and Pacific Shores Center that allowed development of 1.3 million square feet of office space recently purchased by Google. He established a new leadership model with the City Manager, the Mayor and Vice Mayor. He led an effort to enact a recycled water program citywide that has resulted in significant reduction in water usage by the city. He advocated successfully for a city budget reserve policy.

Hartnett is married to Rosanne Foust, President and CEO of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association. He has two grown sons; Hartnett and Foust are raising two daughters, one in high school and one in her second year at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Commenting on each of the three agencies he will lead, Hartnett said:

On Caltrain: “I want to create an environment in which Caltrain will continue to flourish and its success will be sustainable.”

On SamTrans: “I want to make sure that it will continue to serve the needs of all the riders as we build a mobility network that meets the needs of emerging demand.”

On the TA: “It is an agency where possibilities are born and supported and we have an obligation to the voters to ensure it continues and grows as a synergistic source of support for transit and transportation programs and our regional efforts.”

On High Speed Rail: Hartnett cited his experience with High Speed Rail as an asset in leading an organization with a complex relationship with the statewide agency.

“I will be a strong advocate for Caltrain. I know the High Speed Rail organization well and understand the issues. I always looked upon my role on the High Speed Rail board as ensuring that organization was responsive to Peninsula issues,” he said.

When the Caltrain board voted to partner with High Speed Rail, Hartnett  authored an amendment “that included language that we would support High Speed Rail only as long as it was consistent with Caltrain’s objectives.

“I have a long history of commitment to Caltrain, the region’s interests, and the three counties served by this system.”



About SamTrans: Funded in part by a half-cent sales tax, the San Mateo County Transit District also provides administrative support for Caltrain and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. SamTrans has provided bus service to San Mateo County customers since 1976. 

About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San Jose, with limited commute service to Gilroy. Caltrain has enjoyed over three years of consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 60,000 average weekday riders earlier this year. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad will celebrate 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the corridor by 2020, reducing diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and adding more service to more stations. 


About the TA: Created to administer Measure A, San Mateo County’s half-cent sales tax, the Transportation Authority provides funding for transportation and infrastructure improvement projects. In 2004, more than 75 percent of San Mateo County residents voted to reauthorize Measure A for an additional 25 years.

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Media Contact: Jayme Ackemann, 650-508-7934