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Metrolink CEO announces he will retire in January

Metrolink CEO announces he will retire in January
Metrolink Chief Executive Art Leahy inspects sections of the system's Ventura County Line in 2015. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Arthur T. Leahy, the chief executive of Metrolink, said he will retire in January after four years overseeing commuter rail service in six Southern California counties.

During Leahy’s tenure, Metrolink became the first American commuter railroad to fully install a collision avoidance system called positive train control, which can automatically apply a train’s brakes in an emergency.

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Leahy also oversaw the drafting of a $10-billion plan to improve commuter rail service that is aimed at drawing commuters off freeways in Metrolink’s service area and helping visitors travel through Southern California during the 2028 Summer Olympics.

California transportation officials awarded Metrolink $875 million this year, the largest grant in the agency’s history, to begin the plan’s upgrades, including grade separations and new stretches of track.

Finding a new chief executive as Metrolink begins its improvement work will be “very exciting,” board chairman Andrew Kotyuk said in a statement.

Metrolink operates on 512 miles of tracks and serves about 39,000 riders per weekday. Trains run through Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties.

Previously, Leahy was the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s chief executive from 2009 to 2015, overseeing the planning, construction and ribbon-cuttings for the first projects funded through Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase that county voters approved in 2008.

Leahy’s last day at Metrolink will be Jan. 4, spokesman Scott Johnson said, and the agency will conduct a nationwide search to replace him.

Leahy, 69, grew up in Highland Park and began his career as a bus driver. He did not return a request for comment through a spokesperson.

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