For­mer com­mis­sioner wins trans­porta­tion award

Record Observer - - News -

BAL­TI­MORE — The Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of State High­way and Trans­porta­tion Of­fi­cials re­cently pre­sented its pres­ti­gious Pres­i­dent’s Award for Pub­lic Trans­porta­tion to Paul Com­fort, ad­min­is­tra­tor and CEO for the Mary­land Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion’s Mary­land Tran­sit Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Com­fort is a for­mer Queen Anne’s County com­mis­sioner.

AASHTO, which rep­re­sents all 50 state de­part­ments of trans­porta­tion, gives this award to nom­i­nees who have “per­formed ex­em­plary ser­vice dur­ing the year fur­ther­ing trans­porta­tion ac­tiv­i­ties … which have or po­ten­tially could have a salu­tary im­pact on trans­porta­tion na­tion­wide or on a re­gional ba­sis.

“I join AASHTO in salut­ing Paul Com­fort for the progress MTA con­tin­ues to make in bring­ing a world­class cus­tomer at­ti­tude to all lev­els of the or­ga­ni­za­tion,” said Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Pete K. Rahn.

Com­fort be­gan his ten­ure as MTA ad­min­is­tra­tor in May 2015 by fo­cus­ing the en­tire MTA or­ga­ni­za­tion on de­liv­er­ing safe, ef­fi­cient, re­li­able tran­sit across Mary­land with world­class cus­tomer ser­vice. His over­all goal has not wa­vered to sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove the con­nec­tiv­ity and fre- quency of the MTA sys­tem, to con­nect peo­ple to jobs and to sup­port eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in the Bal­ti­more re­gion.

Since that time, on-time per­for­mance has im­proved dra­mat­i­cally across all modes. Lo­cal bus ser­vice rose from 73 per­cent to more than 80 per­cent one year later. MTA’s rail modes, in­clud­ing light rail, metro sub­way and MARC com­muter trains reg­u­larly ex­ceed 95 per­cent on-time per­for­mance. MTA mo­bil­ity para­tran­sit ser­vice on-time per­for­mance rose from 87 per­cent in April 2015 to more than 92 per­cent one year later, all while break­ing records for the vol­ume of mo­bil­ity rid­er­ship across the re­gion.

“Since ar­riv­ing at the MTA last year, Mr. Com­fort has brought a fer­vent en­ergy to fix­ing Bal­ti­more’s bro­ken tran­sit sys­tem,” said Bal­ti­more City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Jack Young.

“His team quickly de­vel­oped a plan to im­prove the fre­quency and re­li­a­bil­ity of bus ser­vice and con­nect it to the city’s light rail and Metro sub­way sys­tem. In a short pe­riod of time, we have al­ready be­gun to see promis­ing re­sults and look for­ward to the full im­ple­men­ta­tion of Gov­er­nor Ho­gan’s Bal­ti­more Link plan. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Paul Com­fort for this ex­tra­or­di­nary recog­ni­tion as Amer­ica’s top trans­porta­tion of­fi­cial.”

While im­prov­ing on-time per­for­mance has been a fo­cus of his lead­er­ship team at the MTA, Com­fort has led the top-to-bot­tom over­haul and re­design of MTA’s tran­sit ser­vice through Gov­er­nor Larry Ho­gan’s Bal­ti­moreLink plan.

Bal­ti­moreLink is the multi-phase plan to cre­ate an in­ter­con­nected tran­sit sys­tem by re­design­ing the en­tire lo­cal and ex­press bus sys­tems through­out Bal­ti­more and adding 12 new high-fre­quency, color-coded bus routes that im­prove con­nec­tions to jobs and to MARC train, metro sub­way and light rail.

New Ex­press BusLink launched its sub­urb-to-sub­urb ser­vice in June 2016. As promised, expanded and new Com­muter Bus ser­vice has seen launches in the sum­mer and fall of 2016 with more com­ing this spring. High-fre­quency Ci­tyLink routes launch in the sum­mer of 2017.

PAUL COM­FORT

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