Metro’s board today installed Paul J. Wiedefeld as the transit agency’s newest general manager and CEO. Wiedefeld, a former Baltimore-Washington International airport executive, replaces interim Metro head Jack Requa and inherits a system facing safety and financial problems as well as Federal Transit Administration oversight. He starts Nov. 30.
At Metro’s board meeting this morning, Wiedefeld briefly outlined his priorities for the agency. Safety and security are paramount for him, he said, closely followed by improving reliability for riders and getting Metro’s financial house in order. “I am so excited to take on this challenge,” Wiedefeld said. “The unfortunate reality is that we’ve lost a lot of our credibility as an agency and as a board.”
Earlier this week, Wiedefeld told WAMU that he wants to make Metro a “world-class system.” But today, he focused on what Metro means for the region: The transit agency is vital to the DMV’s economy, environment, and accessibility, he explained; riders are “frustrated” with the status quo.
“Paul’s three decades of public and private sector transportation management experience will serve him well as he manages the day-to-day operations of Metro with an eye toward improving the rider experience and restoring credibility with regional stakeholders,” Metro Board Chairman Mort Downey said in a statement.
Requa will remain as interim GM/CEO until Wiedefeld takes the helm, according to a Metro spokesperson. Requa was (and technically remains) the assistant general manager of Metrobus and could return to that position.
Photo via WMATA