September 23, 2020

Van Hollen, Cardin, Warner and Kaine Briefed by WMATA’s Wiedefeld on Recent Safety Audit

Senators express frustration at ongoing problems that should have been solved years ago

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) and Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-Va.) held a virtual meeting Wednesday with Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld to review the recent, scathing audit from the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission (WMSC).

The senators, all of whom are staunch advocates of federal support for Metro, expressed their frustrations and disappointment at the serious problems described in the safety review:

“We appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from WMATA about its plans for addressing problems at its Rail Operations and Control Center (ROCC) and about certain corrective actions Mr. Wiedefeld has already begun to set in motion. The current problems with the culture and operations of the ROCC that have been highlighted in the WMSC’s safety audit are detrimental to the safety of all who depend on MetroRail and are wholly unacceptable. Also troubling to us is that some of the problems had been previously identified in years past, and they have been allowed to persist without a sufficient, effective response. The challenge now before WMATA’s leadership is not only to fix the disturbing issues within the ROCC, but to demonstrate that its management team has the capability to implement meaningful, lasting improvements in organizational culture and safety. We will be following its performance closely.”