Wiedefeld announces retirement as Metro CEO
Will leave in six months
Paul J. Wiedefeld, the general manager and CEO of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, plans to retire in six months, the transit authority board chairman announced Tuesday.
Wiedefeld was hired in November 2015 to lead the authority, which manages the Metrorail and Metrobus transportation systems in the Washington, D.C., region.
In a statement, Wiedefeld said, “Forty-plus years in transportation teaches you that there is no set mile marker for this decision, but given the seismic shifts happening in transit and the region, Metro needs a leader who can commit to several years of service and set a new course.”
WMATA has had trials and tribulations during Wiedefeld’s tenure, particularly stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, when rider numbers plunged by 90% in 2020 and still have not recovered. Metro projects to be carrying about 75% of its former passengers by 2024. The agency also has had to sideline more than half of its rail cars since October 2021 due to a safety defect, which causes their wheels to widen from their axles and possibly run off track.
Wiedefeld also has overseen massive expansion of the Metrorail system, including the Dulles-bound Silver Line, reconstructing the platform at the Reagan Washington National Airport, building a new station at Potomac Yard and a second entrance to Arlington’s Crystal City Metro station, projects either completed or in progress. Wiedefeld said he expects to continue focusing on moving Metro’s headquarters, restoring full rail and bus service and opening the Silver Line extension. He also is credited for emphasizing safety through the SafeTrack program and developing a $2 billion annual capital program for repairs.
Before joining WMATA, he was CEO of BWI Airport and the Maryland Transit Administration.