Infrastructure and Land Use Committee Briefing: Briefing by Paul Wiedefeld, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA)
On February 8, 2022, the MCCC Infrastructure and Land Use Committee was joined by Paul Wiedefeld, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA). Mr. Wiedefeld, who has led WMATA since 2015, announced he is retiring in July.
Committee Co-Chairs Gus Bauman (Beveridge & Diamond PC) and Bob Elliott (Lantian Development) wished him well in his future endeavors. Mr. Wiedefeld does not know what comes next, but he plans to continue contributing in some capacity.
In his briefing to the Committee, Mr. Wiedefeld said that a top priority over the last two years is keeping Metro’s workforce safe, including vaccination or proof of testing for all Metro employees. Metro has a 93% vaccination rate and nearly 100% compliance with Metro’s requirements. Regarding ridership, Metro has seen a gradual return, but not to pre-pandemic levels. Ridership has also been disrupted by service interruptions. Metro will continue to encourage a return to ridership and is considering new fare initiatives as an incentive.
Mr. Wiedefeld closed his remarks by discussing several challenges and opportunities facing Metro, including the acknowledgement that the pandemic has changed travel patterns and the current financial model is no longer sustainable. Metro also needs to grapple with equity issues and their relation to quality transit services, including the delivery of an affordable and seamless network of bus and rail transit services that benefits all.
Economic Development Committee Briefing by Maryland Labor & Industry Commissioner Matthew S. Helminiak
MCCC’s Economic Development Committee met on February 2, 2022 and received a briefing from the Maryland Department of Labor’s Commissioner of Labor and Industry, Matthew S. Helminiak. Commissioner Helminiak has oversight over the division that plays the vital role of providing and protecting a healthy, safe, and equitable workplace for Maryland businesses.
The presentation covered:
He also provided a review of legislation his division is following during the 2022 legislation session of the Maryland General Assembly, including a bill to increase the minimum wage. The minimum wage in Maryland, following an increase on January 1, 2022, rises to $12.50 per hour for employers with 15 or more employees and $12.20 for employers with less than 15 employees.
Finally, Commissioner Helminiak provided an overview of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, which went into effect February 11, 2018 and requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide one hour of paid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours that an employee works. For smaller employers, the requirement is one hour of unpaid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours that an employee works.