Greater Greater Washington and the Washington Post both have the news that Metro is hoping to name former New Jersey Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles as interim head of the agency on Thursday. The Post reports that Metro Board Chairman Peter Benjamin confirms they do not currently have a contract with Sarles, but that he “is certainly a person we would like to appoint.”
Benjamin goes on to praise Sarles’s background, and calls him “solid on safety.” Sarles was appointed head of NJ Transit in 2007 after five years as Assistant Executive Director for Capital Programs and Planning there. He retired in January. Before working for NJ Transit, Sarles was at Amtrak where he led development of the Northeast Corridor High-Speed Rail program. He also has an engineering and project management background that spanned 20 years at the Port Authority.
Salres obviously has the chops to deal with the problems facing Metro. We aren’t privy to the interview process, and not living in the NY/NJ area, are not as familiar with his thinking on transit. Luckily, Sarles participates as a panel expert on the National Journal‘s transportation blog, commenting on many of the issues facing transportation planners. Read on for a little bit of insight.