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Trinity Metro President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Ballard will retire in April 2019 when his five-year contract expires, the Fort Worth, Texas, agency announced yesterday.Ballard became president and CEO of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority — now Trinity Metro — in April 2014. He previously was CEO of the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority and Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee, and led the successful startup of the Music City Star commuter-rail service in Nashville.Ballard has served the past 46 years as a general manager, CEO or president of transit systems in both public and private sectors, Trinity Metro officials said in a press release. He began his career as a brakeman and trainman on the Boston and Maine Railroad, and was a bus operator and supervisor of public transit before becoming one of the nation’s youngest transit system GMs.Among his Trinity Metro contributions: solving funding issues; negotiating agreements among several railroads; addressing concerns from local governments; handling construction delays; and advancing positive train control implementation, agency officials said.Ballard also played a major role in helping develop the 27-mile TEXRail commuter-rail line that’s set to launch service Jan. 5 between downtown Fort Worth and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, they said.“Without Paul, the staff he assembled and our dedicated board members, there would be no TEXRail,” said Trinity Metro Chairman Scott Mahaffey. “We’re on track, on time and under budget. Tell me how many government projects can claim that.”TEXRail undoubtedly has been the biggest challenge of his career, said Ballard.“[But] this is the perfect time for me to step back and look toward doing a little consulting and traveling the rails around the world,” he said.