- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - The U.S. government’s railroad chief is leaving his post and returning to Illinois in January to take up a policy position with the Chicago area’s regional planning organization.

The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning announced Thursday that Joseph Szabo (ZAY’-boh) will become a senior fellow helping oversee policy work in areas like infrastructure funding. He’ll also assist local officials in putting policies into practice.

Szabo has headed the Federal Railroad Administration since 2009, helping oversee President Barack Obama’s multibillion dollar high-speed rail program.

He began his rail career with the Illinois Central Railroad in 1976 and has been a yard switchman and commuter train conductor.

Szabo was also mayor of south suburban Riverdale.

CMAP Director Randall Blankenhorn says Szabo’s experience in freight, transit and intercity rail will strengthen the agency.

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