Before he can take the wheel as Secretary of Transportation for Maryland, Paul Wiedefeld, former general manager for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, faces confirmation before a legislative panel.
On Tuesday, Gov. Wes Moore announced he was appointing Wiedefeld to serve as the state’s transportation secretary in charge of the Maryland Department of Transportation. Moore has said transportation will be a priority in his administration.
Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson, who sits on the Senate Executive Nominations Committee said Friday, in a briefing with reporters, “Overall, I feel very positively about him. I’ve heard great things.”
He also added there will be a vetting of Wiedefeld’s track record. “Right now, investments in transportation are going to be one of the most important priorities that the state of Maryland has,” said Ferguson.
The appointment of a new transportation secretary comes as the construction of the Purple Line continues to lag, and as concerns over traffic congestion and plans to add managed toll lanes to part of Interstate 270 remain.
Ferguson was asked if he had any qualms about Wiedefeld’s tenure as Metro general manager. Wiedefeld had resigned ahead of his scheduled retirement, and soon after, reports raised concerns about safety under his leadership.
“Nothing that I feel is disqualifying in any way,” Ferguson said. “I am very confident in the Moore administration’s vetting. They have done a phenomenal job of vetting people thus far. I want to make sure that I understand the full scope of his background and history.”
Wiedefeld previously served as CEO for both the Maryland Aviation Administration and the Maryland Transit Administration. If appointed Secretary of Transportation, he’d also have a seat on the Metro Board of Directors.
The Executive Nominations Committee is scheduled to meet Monday, Jan. 30 at 5 p.m., for the first time since the legislative station started, but Wiedefeld’s name does not appear on the list of appointments up for review.
The committee votes on administration nominations and forwards its findings to the full state Senate, which then votes to confirm or reject nominees.