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District Wire

Paul Wiedefeld appointed new general manager of Metro, says he's against fare increases

 

Paul Wiedefeld (WMATA).

Over two weeks after Metro’s top pick for the position dropped out, the agency’s Board of Directors appointed a permanent general manager for the troubled transit agency Thursday morning, ending a nearly year-long search.

Paul Wiedefeld, a former chief executive of Baltimore-Washington International Airport, will start Nov. 30 in the position. Metro has been without a permanent general manager since January, when former chief Richard Sarles resigned. Wiedefeld will receive an annual salary of $397,500, Metro announced.

In one of his first remarks in the position, Wiedefeld said he doesn’t think it’s time to raise fares, City Paper reported.

“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 of Directors Chair Mort Downey said in a press release.

For Metro, Wiedefeld was the second pick for the job. Airline and aerospace executive Neal Cohen abruptly dropped out November 2 after receiving a barrage of media attention.

Wiedefeld will face both short-term and long-term problems at Metro. WAMU’s Martin Di Caro reported Thursday morning: “[H]e will immediately inherit an array of problems: The trains are not running on time, ridership is plummeting, and the financial outlook is bleak. But those are just the urgent issues. Wiedefeld eventually must tackle Metro’s long-term, structural problems — and that will require outside cooperation, namely the support of leaders in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia whose budgets already are under strain.”

cdil@theeagleonline.com


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