Avital Barnea, Deputy Secretary for Transportation Planning

Avital Barnea was appointed Deputy Secretary for Transportation Planning at the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) by Governor Gavin Newsom in July 2019. In this role, she serves as a key advisor to the CalSTA Secretary on sustainability, mass transit, rail, ports, and freight. She also serves as CalSTA’s equity manager, providing leadership on equity issues to CalSTA’s eight departments, boards and commissions.

Prior to her appointment, Avital served as Program Manager for Freight at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing transportation departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Before joining AASHTO, Avital worked as a Policy Analyst & Grants Manager in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation and as a Community Planner with the Federal Transit Administration, first joining the federal workforce as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF). On behalf of the PMF program, she also served on Capitol Hill in the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, where she worked on and witnessed the passage of MAP-21. Avital began her career in transportation working in bus operations for Metro Transit in Minneapolis.

Avital holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning and a bachelor’s degree in geography, both from the University of Minnesota.