Northern Virginia Congressional delegates and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) met with newly-named Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld today and later expressed confidence in his ability to turn the troubled transit system around.
â€œPaul Wiedefeld has the right prioritiesâ€”safety and security, reliability, and fiscal responsibilityâ€”and he has the background and experience to bring them all to WMATA as a General Manager,â€ said Congresswoman Norton. â€œI stressed to Mr. Wiedefeld the need for WMATA to embrace safety oversight by the Federal Transit Administration and get both WMATAâ€™s safety and fiscal house in order to stop the loss of riders. If Congress is to be helpful to the new General Manager, we must focus on restoring the full $150 million in annual capital safety funding for WMATA in the omnibus appropriations bill to match the $150 million the regionâ€™s three jurisdictions have allocated.â€
Also at the meeting were Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), and Barbara Comstock (R-VA).
â€œMetro is in need of a top-to-bottom overhaul that addresses safety, governance, workforce, financial, and operational issues, all of which are inextricably linked,â€ said Rep. Connolly. â€œIt will be a very difficult task to reverse the stunning decline of Metro and restore a culture of safety, competence, and confidence. I and other members of the Virginia delegation expressed our full support to Mr. Wiedefeld in that endeavor. We need him to be successful.â€
â€œMore than 750,000 people in the national capital region ride Metro every day. Mr. Wiedefeld has an important challenge before him, and we stand poised to help. We communicated that, as well as our hopes and expectations of a safe, reliable future for Metro at todayâ€™s meeting,â€ said Rep. Beyer.
â€œMetroâ€™s new General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has many challenges before him and he has our support as he embarks to fix Metro and upgrade management so that it can be a reliable source of transportation for the entire region. Metro must get its house in order so it can provide safe and reliable service to all of our constituents and visitors to the Capitol Region – failure is not an option,â€ said Rep. Comstock.