Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles is stepping down from his post heading the D.C.-areas transit agency, the Washington Post reported.

Sarles was tapped to head Metro in January 2011 after he had already served as the interim director for ten-months. His tenure, most notably, has been marked by the opening of the Silver Line—-the first addition of a color to the Metro since the Green Line opened in 1991. 

In a letter to Metro employees obtained by the Post, Sarles wrote that he is about to turn 70 and thinks it’s the right time to retire.

The answer is fairly simple.  Early in the next year I reach 70.  My health is very good. My family continues to grow with eight grandchildren as of this month.  It is time to rebalance my life more toward family, friends and pursuing activities that I have wanted to do for a long time which requires much more flexibility in my schedule.

The Metro board had recently voted to extend Sarles’ contract through 2016. He will officially step down in mid-January.

And it looks likes Sarles will do just fine in his retirement years. In 2012, Washington City Paper reported that he earned $350,000 a year, plus $3,200 in monthly pension payments from his time at New Jersey Transit Authority.

Photo by tracktwentynine via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0