Second Annual

Leonard Transportation Center Forum

For Whom the Road Should Toll

The Future of Toll Roads and Road Pricing in California

May 2, 2008 

Hilton Ontario Airport

Sierra Ballroom

Ontario, California

8:00 A.M. - 2:30 P.M.

Hosted by the Leonard Transportation Center at Cal State San Bernardino

Co- Hosted by:

WTS Logo and link    IEEP Logo and link 



HDR logo and link


  Parsons Brinckerhoff logo and link  DMA Logo and link


The Program and Conference Schedule

Traditional funding sources for roads and highways continue to decline relative to their purchasing power.  Yet the need for investment and reinvestment in California’s transportation infrastructure has never been greater.  California has lagged behind more aggressive states and many urban regions worldwide in implementing toll roads and road pricing.

  • Should toll roads be part of California’s transportation future?
  • If so what works and what won’t work?
  • Do toll roads promote greater efficiency and reduce taxpayer burdens?
  • Can concerns which are raised about toll roads be addressed?
  • What is occurring elsewhere?
  • If more toll roads should be in our future what needs to occur to make that happen?

The Forum features an all star cast of state and national authorities, parishioners and scholars, on transportation finance and road pricing.  This conference is geared to the interests of the business community, transportation practioners, elected officials and legislative staff - and to anyone with an interest in learning about possible ways to improve mobility in Southern California.

7:30 Registration Opens

8:30 Convene

Welcome from Leonard Transportation Center Director John Wu and Bill Leonard, Chair of the Leonard Center Advisory Board

Forum Overview:  Norm King, Founding Director, Leonard Transportation Center

8:55 Keynote:  Alan Pisarski,

Why congestion is such a huge problem; underlying demographic and social changes; the horrendous economic cost to the region if congestion is not reduced significantly; the role of transit and need for increased roadway capacity.

9:40 Panel #1:  Why Toll Roads?

Kathleen Brown, Goldman Sachs (Moderator and Presenter)

On the revolution that is taking place in infrastructure finance and why it is important for California to get the right policies in place to attract global capital for our infrastructure.

Asha Weinstein Agrawal, San Jose State University

The results of 2006 California voter survey showing relative degrees of support for toll roads verses other forms of revenue increases.

Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director, Southern California Association of Governments

Why toll roads will be necessary to supply needed capacity; limitations traditional funding.

10:35   Break

10:50  Panel #2:  What types of toll roads or road pricing initiatives make sense for Southern California; can concerns raised about toll roads be addressed?

Bob Poole, Reason Foundation (Moderator and Presenter)

What other states/urban regions are doing.

Steve Finnegan, Automobile Club of Southern California

Auto Club’s take on tolling and HOT lanes and alternatives

Kent Olsen, Parsons Brinkerhoff

The basics of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs); observations on feasibility studies.

Brennan Kidd, Lee Engineering

Cost-effectiveness of HOT lanes as both a highway and transit (BRT) solution.

12:00 Lunch

12:30 Lunch Presentation:  Martin Wachs, RAND

Focus on the importance of user-pays principle for highway finance; how we have drifted away from that in California in recent decades; how tolling historically was the first choice and should be again with electronic toll collection technologies; equity issues surrounding toll roads.

1:15 Panel #3:  What Needs to Be Done If Toll Roads Should Be Part of California’s Future?

David Fleming, LACMTA (METRO) Board Member (Moderator and Presenter)

Mobilizing the business community and thoughts on moving forward.

Barney Allison, Nossaman Guthner Knox and Elliott

What enabling legislation needs to contain to be competitive with other states.

Mark Watts, California Strategies

Prospects for enabling legislation.

Jim Bourgart, Business, Transportation & Housing Agency

What the State needs from the Legislature and the regional agencies.

2:25 Wrap-Up

2:35 Adjourn


Speaker Information



Pisarski Photo

Writer, analyst, consultant in the fields of transportation research, policy and investment

Spanning a career of 40 years in metropolitan, state, national, and international activities:  Mr. Pisarski is best known as the author of the Commuting in America series which now spans twenty years, describing national and metropolitan commuting patterns. As a writer and consultant in transportation public policy, travel behavior analysis and statistics he has been invited to testify in both Houses of the United States Congress on many occasions regarding national travel demand, infrastructure investment requirements and public policy. He has been invited to advise State Gubernatorial and Legislative Commissions regarding their economic, social, demographic and infrastructure circumstances.   Internationally he has served the US AID, the World Bank, the United Nations, the OECD, the European Union, the World Tourism Organization and the European Tourism Commission. 

As a writer and consultant in transportation public policy, travel behavior analysis and statistics his work related to transportation, particularly commuting and travel behavior, has been reviewed, discussed and quoted in all of the major national news magazines, and newspapers, appearing often on major national radio and television network programs, including the “Today Show”, “Good Morning America,” NBC, CBS and ABC Nightly News, "Nightline," and "20/20," discussing national transportation topics.  Last fall he completed the third in the Commuting in America series. 


Mr. Pisarski chaired the Section of the US National Academy of Science’s Transportation Research Board which has oversight over all of the statistical committees of the Board.  He also founded and chaired the Board’s Committee on Transportation History.  In 1999 he delivered the Distinguished Lecture at TRB.  For his career work in TRB he was appointed an Academy Associate by the National Academy of Sciences in 2003 and in January received its highest award, for leadership in transportation research.  He has been honored by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association by being named one of the top 100 figures in the field in the 20th Century.


Martin Wachs, Lunch Presentation

Wachs Photo

Martin Wachs is Director of the Transportation, Space and Technology Program and of the Supply Chain Policy Center at the RAND Corporation.  Until the end of 2005 he was Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Professor of City & Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was also Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies.  He earlier spent 25 years at UCLA, where he was Chairman of the Department of Urban Planning. 

Wachs is the author of 160 articles and four books on subjects related to relationships between transportation, land use, and air quality, transportation needs of the elderly, techniques for the evaluation of transportation systems, and the use of performance measurement in transportation planning.  His research also addresses issues of equity in transportation policy, problems of crime in public transit systems, the response of transportation systems to natural disasters including earthquakes.  His most recent work focuses on transportation finance in relation to planning and policy. 


Dr. Wachs served on the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board for nine years and was the TRB Chairman during the year 2000.  He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowships, a UCLA Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award, the Pyke Johnson Award for the best paper presented at an annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board, and the Carey Award for service to the TRB.  He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners and a Lifetime Associate of the National Academy of Sciences.   In 2006 he was named “Member of the Year” by the San Francisco Chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar and was awarded the lifetime achievement award as “Distinguished Planning Educator” by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.


Panel 1:  Why Toll Roads?


Kathleen Brown

Brown PhotoKathleen Brown, Head of Public Finance for the West Region, joined Goldman Sachs & Co. in 2001.  Kathleen has extensive experience in municipal finance and government, having served as Treasurer of the State of California, Democratic Party nominee for Governor of California, co-chair of the Presidential Commission on Capital Budgeting, and a Board member of the Los Angeles Unified School District. 


Asha Weinstein Agrawal

Agrawl PhotoAsha Weinstein Agrawal is a Research Associate at the Mineta Transportation Institute and also an Assistant Professor in the Urban and Regional Planning Department at San Jose State University. Her research and teaching interests in transportation policy and planning include transportation finance, pedestrian planning, and transportation history.


Hasan Ikhrata

Ikhrata PhotoHasan Ikhrata is the Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Southern California’s Metropolitan Planning Organization.  Hasan has over 22 years of experience in the arena of Transportation Planning in the Southern California Region, in both the private and public sector. 



Panel 2:  What types of toll roads or road pricing initiatives make sense for Southern California; can concerns raised about toll roads be addressed?

Robert Poole

Poole PhotoRobert Poole is Director of Transportation Studies at the Reason Foundation in Los Angeles.  He received his B.S. and M.S. in mechanical engineering at MIT and did graduate work in operations research at NYU.  His 1988 policy paper proposing privately financed, congestion-relief toll lanes inspired California’s landmark private tollway law (AB 680), which served as the prototype for more than 20 similar laws in other states.  In 1993 he directed a study that introduced the term HOT Lanes. Poole has been an advisor to the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the White House Office of Policy Development, and the DOTs of California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Utah, Virginia, and Texas.

Stephen Finnegan

Stephen Finnegan has over 20 years of experience in transportation, finance, business, and advocacy.  His career includes work as a financial analyst with Bank of America, positions in planning and operations with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, serving as a management consultant to public agencies and non-profit organizations, and leading government affairs, community relations, advocacy, and public policy work for the Automobile Club of Southern California and affiliated organizations, including AAA Texas, AAA New Mexico, and AAA Hawaii.

Kent Olsen

Olson PhotoKENT OLSEN is a project director in the program management service line of Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB).  His assignments involve strategic consulting on project delivery of major infrastructure projects and development of toll roads and tolled express lanes. Before this assignment, he served for eight years as president of California Transportation Ventures, Inc. (CTV), at that time a partially-owned subsidiary of PB. CTV, now know as South Bay Expressway, is a company that holds a franchise with the State of California to finance, design, build and operate SR 125 South, a ten-mile toll road in San Diego County. 

Brennan D. Kidd, P.E.

Kidd PhotoMr. Kidd has been a traffic engineer for nine years, all of which have been spent with Lee Engineering—a private consulting firm specializing in traffic engineering, and based in Phoenix, Arizona.  His experience in transportation engineering ranges from performing traffic impact studies to analysis of traffic signal management systems in Flagstaff, Albuquerque, and Kansas City. 


Panel 3:  What Needs to Be Done If Toll Roads Should Be Part of California’s Future?

David W. Fleming

David W. Fleming was the instigator of the successful charter reform movement in the City of Los Angeles.  In 1997, he and then LA Mayor Richard Riordan co-chaired a voters' initiative to reform Los Angeles City government, culminating in the creation of an elected citizens' Charter Reform Commission, which drafted a new charter for the City of Los Angeles which was overwhelming adopted by the City’s voters in 1999.  In 2005, he was appointed by the then newly elected Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, to represent the city of Los Angeles as a director of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (the “MTA”).  He has served as chair of MTA’s Finance and Budget Committee and serves on it’s Planning and Operations Committees. 

Barney A. Allison - Partner

Allison PhotoBarney Allison’s 28 years of experience as a bond and finance attorney includes work on numerous innovative financings for transportation projects, including acting as finance counsel for major transportation project revenue financings, federal lines of credit, TIFIA and PABs, and representing state agencies and project developers with regard to public-private partnerships.


Mark Watts

Mark Watts, previously of Smith Watts, merged his operation into California Strategies in 2007.  He had previously collaborated to produce Smith, Watts & Company following two and one-half years as a partner in a leading Sacramento lobbying firm.  Mr. Watts' responsibilities included providing lobbying services and strategic political advice, as well as managing and directing the day-to-day activities of the firm with more than 35 clients.  Immediately prior to that service Mr. Watts was selected in 1996 to spearhead the management of the California State Assembly as the Chief of Staff for Assembly Speaker Curt Pringle.

Jim Bourgart

Jim Bourgart imageJim Bourgart was appointed in April 2006 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Deputy Secretary for Transportation and Infrastructure in the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.  Prior to joining the Administration, Jim was a government relations manager and transportation planner for a major transportation engineering firm for 15 years.  Previously, Jim also worked for the Bay Area Council, a regional business association, for the California State Legislature, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  He served for two years as a Mayoral appointee to the board of directors of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.  He has degrees in Political Science from Columbia University and Stanford University.