Maryland, Virginia senators push outgoing Metro CEO Wiedefeld to improve safety

Key Points:

  • Senators from Maryland and Virginia pressed Metro GM Paul Wiedefeld in a virtual meeting on Thursday.
  • Concerns the Democratic senators had included the restoration of the 7000 series cars involved in a 2021 Blue line derailment.

The U.S. Senate delegations from both Virginia and Maryland met virtually with Paul Wiedefeld, the outgoing general manager and CEO for Metro, to push him to improve the safety of the system.

Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, and Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, all Democrats, said the general manager should spend his final months to set Metro on the right track.

“There are real challenges that WMATA is dealing with today,” the senators said in a joint statement. “In addition to short-term needs, such as restoring use of the 7000 Series cars, the transit agency must evaluate longer-term strategies for meeting the region’s post-COVID needs due to enduring changes in travel and work patterns brought on by the pandemic.”

The group also thanked Wiedefeld for his service and said that the discussion was productive as they asked him for “a safety-first cultural shift.”

The group of senators and Wiedefeld agreed on the need to continue WMATA’s cooperation with the National Safety Transportation Board and improve relations with the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission.

“Larger than rail cars alone, WMATA must take steps to restore customer confidence that it is adopting the right strategies to ensure full, safe and efficient service throughout the Metrorail system,” the group of senators said.

Wiedefeld announced his retirement in mid-January after six years at the helm of the transit agency. The plan for his successor will be discussed at a public meeting Feb. 10.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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