Paul J. Wiedefeld to present Voorhees Distinguished Lecture, April 22

April 17, 2019

Paul J. Wiedefeld MCRP ’81, General Manager and CEO, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), will present the 2019 Alan M. Voorhees Distinguished Lecture, “The Washington Region’s Fight to Save Metro” on Monday, April 22. It will be held at the Gov. James J. Florio Special Events Forum at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ and begin at 5:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to attend a reception beginning at 5:00 p.m. RSVP requested by visiting

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, commonly referred to as Metro, was created through an interstate compact among the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia and began operations in 1976. With a new 11-mile line extension planned for 2020, Metro has grown to be the second largest heavy rail transit system in the country.

Known globally for its iconic station architecture and high-quality service for millions of residents and visitors to the nation’s capital each year, its reputation as one of the premier American rail systems declined dramatically over the last decade. Deferred maintenance, a lack of dedicated funding, a complex governance structure and other factors resulted in a crisis of credibility to provide a safe, reliable and financially sustainable rail system.

This lecture will focus on the factors that led to the decline of the rail system, management actions that physically began to rebuild the system, and subsequently, regain customer credibility and confidence and the recognition of Metro’s critical support of the Washington region’s economy and quality of life. All of which provided a foundation for the agency to receive its first dedicated capital funding.

After 35 years in the transportation industry, Paul Weidefeld accepted the challenging assignment of leading Metro in 2015 as General Manager/ CEO. Under his leadership, Metro has turned the corner on safety, service reliability and financial management. In addition to recruiting a new executive team, this progress was made possible through a series of hard choices to put safety first, including the launch of SafeTrack which achieved three years of critical track work in just over a year. Following SafeTrack, Metro transitioned to its first-ever preventive maintenance program with longer work windows to complete repairs necessary for safe and reliable service for customers.

Prior to joining Metro, Paul was the CEO of BWI Airport. During his tenure, BWI grew to become the leading passenger airport in the Washington  metropolitan region. He also served as the CEO of the Maryland Transit Administration, managing day-to-day operations of the nation’s 13th largest transit system, including MARC commuter rail, subway, light rail, buses and paratransit. In the private sector, Paul served for a decade as a consultant with the international engineering firm, Parsons Brinckerhoff. He has a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University.

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