Transportation Industry Analyst
Federal Railroad Administration
Dharm Guruswamy is a transportation industry analyst with the Office of Passenger and Freight Programs at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Guruswamy’s commitment to his job is reflected in several projects that he has conducted. Guruswamy conducted a study right after arriving at FRA on whether the commuter railroads that use the Amtrak owned Northeast Corridor paid their fair operating and capital costs. He accompanied then FRA Administrator Joseph Boardman (now Amtrak president) to meetings with high level officials from the Office of the Secretary at the Department of Transportation, Office of Management and Budget, and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Guruswamy was also one of only six people (in an agency of more than 600) selected for FRA’s Leadership Development Program, which he successfully completed in 2009.
Guruswamy has contributed to the industry in several ways. First, he has been active with the Transportation Research Board since joining the industry in 1997. He is a former member of the TRB Committee on Transportation in Developing Countries and a current member of the TRB Intercity Passenger Rail Committee. Guruswamy is also published in the area of applying transportation models in developing countries. Finally, Guruswamy serves as a member (and former vice chair) of the Riders Advisory Committee to the board of directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Over the last two years, Guruswamy has managed a $1.3 billion Recovery Act grant to Amtrak and served as FRA’s Interim Customer Service Lead to Amtrak. While managing the Recovery Act grant to Amtrak, Guruswamy established a comprehensive oversight program where none existed, processed more than three dozen reprogrammings, and eight disbursements. As of May 2, all $1.3 billion has been advanced to Amtrak and it has spent more than $1.1 billion while achieving substantial completion of almost two-thirds of the 150 projects funded under the grant. Meanwhile, in his role as Interim Customer Service Lead he has assumed much of the responsibility of technical oversight of Amtrak’s roughly $700 million a year annual capital program funded through FRA and begun to extend the oversight model developed for the Recovery Act grant to Amtrak’s annual capital program.
Early on in Guruswamy’s career he was a long-term consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank. He successfully managed the implementation of a more than $1 million study of urban transportation in Cuenca, Ecuador. As a result, Cuenca is now considered a model for urban transport among medium-sized cities in Latin America.
“While growing up as a child, I was always fascinated with transportation. As I got older I became very interested in public transit. I followed my dreams and feel lucky that I can actually go to work every day doing what I dreamed of doing as a child.”
“I believe the public transit industry has to grow and thrive if the country is to prosper in the 21st century. When this happens, I hope the industry makes a concerted effort to attract new talent into the industry as that will be key to sustaining and growing the industry.”