State Rep. Nicholas Micozzie, the Delaware County Republican who is chairman of the Transportation Committee and one of the longest-tenured members of the state House, announced Monday that he would retire at the end of the year when his term expires.

Micozzie, 83, of Upper Darby, released a statement on his website Monday saying he was looking forward to spending time with his family, and invoking the Kenny Rogers song "The Gambler."

"My friends," Micozzie wrote, "it is time for me to fold 'em, to walk away, and to know when it is time NOT to run."

Micozzie, first elected to the House in 1978, was at the center of a long battle over transportation funding this year. In late November, Gov. Corbett signed a $2.3 billion bill that would fund road and bridge repairs and mass-transit improvements.

Micozzie is an Air Force veteran whose political career began in the early 1970s, when he was elected an Upper Darby councilman. He served in that role for 19 years, he said, continuing after his election to the House.

Micozzie won his last election, in 2012, by a mere 495 votes - outpolling Democrat Sheamus Bonner by 14,432 to 13,937.

He said in an interview Monday that he was confident he would have held his seat had he ran again.

Paul McNichol, leader of the Upper Darby Republican Party, declined to speculate on whom might replace Micozzie, calling Monday "Nick's day."

"I don't think I've ever met an individual ... who's had more dedication to his constituents," he said.