NEWARK, NJ ó Richard R. Sarles, Sr. was named the new Executive Director of NJ TRANSIT during a special meeting of the Corporationís Board of Directors today.
Mr. Sarles, age 62, has been NJ TRANSITís Assistant Executive Director for Capital Programs and Planning since 2002, managing the agencyís $1.3 billion annual capital program as well as all three light rail operations in the state. A professional engineer, Mr. Sarles previously served for more than 20 years in construction, project management and project planning roles with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He also served at Amtrak from 1996 until 2002 as a Vice President leading the Northeast Corridor High-Speed Rail program and subsequently leading capital program management for capital projects across the nation.
"We are fortunate to have a talented and deeply experienced transportation professional of Richís caliber to lead NJ TRANSIT," Governor Corzine said. "His expertise will be particularly useful in implementing the Access to the Regionís Core and other key mobility projects that will help our economy continue to grow."
Governor Corzine thanked former Governor Jim Florio and the Search Committee for their efforts throughout the selection process.
"I have come to know and respect Rich Sarles as a senior executive with a profound understanding of transportation policy, and a professional with great integrity," said NJDOT Commissioner Kris Kolluri who is also chairman of the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors. "I look forward to working closely with Rich in his new leadership role to advance the Governorís priorities for mass transit."
In accepting this position, Mr. Sarles said he is honored to lead one of the nationís premier public transportation systems. "We will continue to advance ARC and meet our commitment to the Governor on this vital regional project," said Sarles. "I am equally committed to focusing intensely on what customers need and want from our service. Today, transit is a good option. I will work with the Governor, the board and employees to make it the preferred choice for travel in New Jersey."
During his tenure with the Port Authority, Mr. Sarles led a successful effort to bring a major railcar manufacturer to the region to overhaul and manufacture new PATH cars, creating thousands of local jobs. He also oversaw the modernization of major trans-Hudson facilities, including vehicular tunnels, bridges and PATH. Later, Mr. Sarles directed the National Railroad Passenger Corporationís $2 billion high-speed rail project that brought 150-mph train service to the Northeast Corridor and electrified the railroad for the first time in history from New Haven, Connecticut to Boston, Massachusetts.
Since coming to NJ TRANSIT, Mr. Sarles reinvented the process of designing rolling stock with greater customer and employee input into the design and operation of the equipment. He also opened River LINE light rail service in southern New Jersey, and oversaw the extensions of the Newark Light Rail and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail systems.
Mr. Sarles holds a Masters in Business Administration from Rutgers University and a Bachelor of Engineering from The Cooper Union. He was born in Passaic and grew up in Nutley. The father of three children, Mr. Sarles also has four grandchildren, all of whom live in New Jersey.
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing nearly 857,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.