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San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Michael Scanlon yesterday announced plans to retire after serving nearly 50 years in public transportation.Scanlon, 67, informed the district board of his plan on Wednesday, district officials said in a press release. However, he has not yet chosen his final day on the job, according to a report in the San Jose Mercury News.In 1999, Scanlon was named GM/CEO of SamTrans, executive director of the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Authority and executive director of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority. During his tenure and at the direction of the district's three boards, he oversaw a transformation of SamTrans into a modern mobility manager, led the dynamic growth of Caltrain into a regional and record-setting rail system, presided over the reauthorization of the transportation authority sales tax by 75 percent of the voters and undertook the Caltrain modernization program to electrify and modernize Caltrain, district officials said.SamTrans Chairman Jeff Gee said the organization and its sister agencies had urged Scanlon to stay on for the next few years as they address "many exciting challenges" ahead."We are sad to see him go. But after 47 years in the industry and a workload second to none, our sorrow at losing his talent, expertise and leadership is tempered by our appreciation at all he has done and the fact that his retirement is well and entirely earned," Gee said.During his tenure, Scanlon mostly focused on the changing needs and expectations of the public toward transit and transportation, and responded with forward-looking programs to address increasing congestion, the transportation-land use nexus, and the challenges of skyrocketing demand for fresh and innovative solutions to public transit, district and state officials said.
"Mike saw all of the possibilities and challenges facing SamTrans as it made the leap from a smaller operator to an important component of the Peninsula commute," said California State Senator Jerry Hill, a former board member for SamTrans and Caltrain.
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