Regional Transit's leadership change sets up a light-rail transfer

Mike Wiley will step down from GM position in January 2017

Mind the sliding doors: Light rail is about to inch toward a new administration. After eight years in the top post and almost four decades with Sacramento Regional Transit, Mike Wiley said he'd like to step down from his dual position as general manager and CEO in January 2017.

Wiley's October 2 announcement sets in motion a national recruitment search for his replacement that is expected to take about six months, RT said in a news release. Whenever a new GM is hired, Wiley will transition into the role of special assistant to the board, and remain on-call through November 2017.

Since joining RT as service planner in 1978, Wiley has occupied several positions within the company. He's been a member of the executive management team for the past 32 years, the release said.

In a statement, Wiley cited RT's “critical juncture” with the impending Golden 1 Center coming online one year from now. “My decision to retire was not made lightly,” the statement said. “I remain fully committed to RT to ensure a smooth change of leadership. At the same time, I am looking forward to starting a new chapter in my life.”

In a separate statement, Congresswoman Doris Matsui credited Wiley with guiding RT to the other side of the economic recession, and adding light-rail and bus service in low-income areas. “With Mike's decision to retire at the end of next year, Sacramento is losing a passionate, tireless transportation advocate,” Matsui said in her statement.

RT has yet to full recover from that recession, when it was forced to eliminate bus routes and transfers, and scale back nighttime light-rail service, shedding approximately 7 million annual riders. The system has coaxed back about 3 million, according to an SN&R story in March.

In August, RT unveiled just over 4 miles of new track to connect its Blue Line to Cosumnes River College in south Sacramento.