After decades of toil in the nation’s capital, Transportation Undersecretary Peter Rogoff is departing to take the reins of a transit agency in Seattle.

Rogoff ran the Federal Transit Administration before Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx elevated him to become his right-hand man. His résumé also includes 22 years on the staff of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Rogoff was unanimously selected to run Sound Transit, the system that serves Seattle and the Puget Sound region.

“This is one of the regions of maybe two or three in the country that really recognizes that the way we’re going to get on top of their growth is really planning for it and building for it,” Rogoff said in accepting the transit board’s appointment. “When I served as federal transit administrator, I often said that you really have two choices when you’re facing growth of this size. You can plan for it or be overwhelmed by it.”

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Rogoff said that under the leadership of Joni Earl, Sound Transit had opted to plan rather than be overwhelmed. “And that means you’re going to continue to attract jobs [and] maintain the quality of life for the people in this community,” he told the board.

Earl, 61, is credited with righting a faltering agency during her 15-year tenure. When she took over, plans to create a regional transit system were in disarray. Since then it has expanded into a network that includes bus, commuter rail and light-rail options. Seattle’s light-rail system is undergoing expansion.

Earl will retire in March, prompted by a head injury last year that required brain surgery.

“Peter Rogoff will bring the experience this region needs to expand rail and bus service for our fast-growing cities,” said transit board chair Dow Constantine. “Mobility is our linchpin for a prosperous and sustainable future. Today, we welcome one of America’s most seasoned transportation leaders.”

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