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Dick Ruddell announced yesterday that he plans to retire as president and executive director of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) on Oct. 4.Ruddell, 66, has been The T's top executive since February 2003. During his tenure, he led the planning and development for the regional rail line known as TEX Rail. A month ago, the agency announced the first phase of the TEX Rail project will run from downtown Fort Worth to Grapevine, Texas, to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.Ruddell has been thinking about retirement for some time, and has discussed the timing of his decision with Chairman Scott Mahaffey on several occasions, The T officials said in a press release."With the recent announcement of the first phase of TEX Rail, . . . this is a logical time for transition of leadership," said Ruddell. "While I plan to spend time with my family, I will remain active in the transit industry and will be available to assist Scott Mahaffey and the board if needed."Ruddell also has been named a finalist for the executive director position at the Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh. Ruddell told the Star-Telegram newspaper yesterday that he didn't think the position had been filled yet. He also said he did not have a permanent full-time job lined up after he retires from The T.Ruddell has more than 30 years of experience in the transit industry, including stints in Wichita and Topeka, Kan., and Toledo, Ohio.Mahaffey credited Ruddell for positioning The T to grow from a primarily bus-based transit system to a regional transportation agency that also offers vanpools, trolley service, the Trinity Railway Express between Forth Worth and Dallas, and — later this decade — commuter-rail service. "Commuter rail has been a longtime goal of Fort Worth leaders and Dick Ruddell navigated the agency through myriad planning, regulatory, engineering and financing requirements for commuter rail," said Mahaffey.
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