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WMATA appoints Wiedefeld GM, CEO


The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) named Paul Wiedefeld general manager and chief executive officer, bringing the agency's months-long search for a new leader to a close.

The D.C.-area transit agency had been looking for a new CEO since Richard Sarles retired in January.

News of Wiedefeld's appointment follows Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx's earlier calls for the agency to immediately hire a "capable general manager."

The agency's board is set to formally appoint him at its Nov. 19 meeting, WMATA officials said in a news release.

Paul Wiedefeld
Photo: Maryland Aviation Administration
Wiedefeld has 30 years of public and private sector transportation management experience. He previously served as CEO of the Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshall Airport, where he oversaw the largest expansion in the airport's history, including the design and construction of Southwest Airlines' 26-gate terminal.

Wiedefeld is credited with leading the airport's growth as the busiest passenger airport in the Washington metropolitan region, WMATA officials said.

Wiedefeld also served as administrator of the Maryland Transit Administration and in engineering project management for Parsons Brinckerhoff's aviation practice.

"Paul brings to Metro a depth of transportation knowledge and regional experience and we are absolutely united in our support for him," said WMATA Chairman Mort Downey. "The board will continue in our governance and oversight role in a manner that helps Paul succeed in running the day-to-day operations of Metro to better serve our riders, rebuild faith in management, and restore credibility with stakeholders."

WMATA expects to finalize a contract agreement with Wiedefeld in time for its board meeting later this month. Jack Requa will continue to serve as interim GM until Wiedefeld comes on board, agency officials said.

Meanwhile, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) yesterday approved a resolution that calls upon WMATA to prioritize its investment in state-of-good-repair projects and safety improvements. The commission's resolution also asks WMATA to enact polices and procedures at every level of the agency that support and emphasize safety, NVTC officials said in a press release.

WMATA has been struggling with a series of maintenance and safety problems, including a smoke-related incident incident in January that left one dead and more than 80 injured.

NVTC endorses direct oversight of WMATA by the U.S. Department of Transportation until Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia authorize the establishment of an independent safety commission.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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