Two Weeks Before Baltimore Bus Route Overhaul, MTA Chief Is Replaced

Two weeks before the Maryland Transit Administration plans to launch the most sweeping changes in Baltimore’s bus system in more than a decade, the head of the agency has been replaced.

The Baltimore Sun reports,

In a terse statement, Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn announced Tuesday that Paul Comfort, who was brought in to run the transit agency in April 2015, has left his post. Rahn named Kevin Quinn, who has been the MTA’s director of planning and programming, as acting administrator.

Erin Henson, a Maryland Department of Transportation spokeswoman, declined to explain the reason for the abrupt change. She said it was a “personnel matter.”

Henson said the planned launch of the new BaltimoreLink bus system would go ahead as scheduled June 18. She said the department expects no problems from the transition because Quinn had taken the lead in designing and developing the new route system.

Gov. Larry Hogan unveiled plans for BaltimoreLink in 2015, shortly after canceling the $3 billion Red Line light rail project. At the time, the governor billed the plan as a more economical and efficient approach to improving transit in Baltimore than the Red Line, which he dismissed as a boondoggle.

The MTA has been working on implementing the plan for almost two years, holding extensive public meetings to solicit riders’ input. In recent months the agency has conducted an educational campaign to prepare riders for the changeover.

Comfort is a former Queen Anne’s County commissioner who worked as assistant project manager and operations director at MV Transportation before his hiring to lead the MTA.

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