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Eye on Annapolis

The Daily Record's Maryland state government blog

MTA chief ousted as Baltimore’s major bus overhaul approaches

The head of the Maryland Transit Administration has been abruptly ousted less than two weeks before the agency was set to announce Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature overhaul of the regional bus system.

Maryland Transit Administrator Paul Comfort at an October 2015 announcement of plans to overhaul the regional bus system. (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

Maryland Transit Administrator Paul Comfort at an October 2015 announcement of plans to overhaul the regional bus system. (The Daily Record / Bryan P. Sears)

Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn announced named Kevin B. Quinn, Jr.  as acting administrator of the agency Tuesday, replacing Paul Comfort, who was hired in May 2015.

Comfort did not respond to a request for comment.

Quinn previously served as director of planning and programming. Additionally, he served as Mid-Atlantic regional planning manager focused on transportation planning for STV of Baltimore.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and government from Goucher College and a Master of Public Policy from The Johns Hopkins University.

“Kevin is smart, innovative and understands how to make transit work,” Rahn said in the statement. “Thanks to his hard work and leadership, Maryland’s transit system is becoming a national model.”

No reason was given for the departure of Comfort, an attorney with 28 years experience in public transit and government. He previously served as the assistant project manager and director of operations for MV Transportation and was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s MetroAccess Service.

Prior to that, Comfort oversaw public transit operations for private-sector transit companies and for local governments in his role as county administrator for Charles and Queen Anne’s counties. He also worked for 16 years as a radio personality.

Comfort’s agency is set to announce its overhaul of the regional bus system, known as BaltimoreLink. Hogan announced the program in 2015 as an attempt to offset criticism for ending the Red Line program.

Erin Henson said Tuesday night that Comfort “is transitioning out of the department.”

She declined to provide details of his departure but said his last day in the office was Tuesday though he will remain on the state payroll until June 17. Henson declined to explain why Comfort would remain an employee for 11 more days, saying it was a personnel matter.

Comfort was scheduled to speak about the new BaltimoreLink system and upcoming transportation projects for the Baltimore region at a sold out June 21 breakfast event held by the Greater Baltimore Committee.

 


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