BWI chief retires, MTA boss moves over
While I was out on vacation (and then spent nearly a week on the sick list), one story that slipped through the cracks came Sept. 18 when Maryland Transportation Secretary Beverly Swaim-Staley announced that Timothy L. Campbell, executive director of the Maryland Aviation Administration, was retiring and that MTA Administrator Paul J. Wiedefeld would take his place when the change becomes official Dec. 31.
For Wiedefeld (right), the shift will bring him back to a position he held from 2002 to 2005, when he left to take a job in the private sector. During his tenure at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Wiedefeld was credited with successfully managing the largest capital expansion in the airport's history, including construction of the Southwest Terminal.
Campbell (left), who has spent a 35-year career in aviation management, has been credited with maintaining the level of air service at BWI in the face of industry cutbacks. Swaim-Staley hailed him as "one of the best aviation professionals in the country."
Wiedefeld took over at MTA in 2007 at a time when there was confusion over who actually ran the agency -- the administrator or the secretary of transportation -- and quickly made it clear he was in charge. Among other things, he outlined a long term plan for the expansion of the MARC commuter train system and pushed for expedited delivery of a new 26-locomotive fleet for the rail service.
He led the agency through several crises: including a train wheel cracking problem that nearly brought the light rail system to a halt last year and this summer's fatal collision wiith two teenagers near Lutherville. He has also had to deal with a budget crunch that has forced painful cutbacks in both core bus service and popular commuter routes.
The transportation department said Wiedefeld will remain with the MTA through November, after whhich he will begin a gradual transition into his new/old job. Swaim-Staley said she hopes to have a new administrator in place before Wiedefeld's departure.