Maryland Secretary of Transportation Paul Wiedefeld addressed the BWI Partnership’s Signature Breakfast and Transportation Expo. (Photo: Mark Smith)

Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld was the speaker at the recent BWI Business Partnership’s September Signature Breakfast & Transportation Expo. The event was held at the BWI Westin Airport Hotel, in Linthicum.

Wiedefeld addressed a variety of topics during his address, starting with the increasing number of road fatalities in the state. The number reached 563 for the second consecutive year in 2022; to date this year, that figure has already hit 428, as opposed to 404 at this time last year, according to the website.

He then discussed growth opportunities around airports as well as multi-modal transportation. Wiedefeld pointed to the under-construction Purple Line that will connect Bethesda and New Carrollton and how BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and the MARC rail line might benefit, and his hope that the MARC line will eventually connect to Virginia and Delaware. He also mentioned that preliminary work is underway on the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel on the Penn Line in Baltimore City.

Other topics covered included climate change and the state’s plan to cut greenhouse gases by 60%, ethical ways to help more minority contractors win more state awards, the lack of funding for the Transportation Trust Fund due to the lack of car sales, and the state’s $2 billion 2024-29 Capital Program, which has a shortfall of $100,000.

Earlier in the program, Partnership Board Chair Gene Condon delivered a salute to the BWI Business District businessman and philanthropist Lou Zagarino, who passed away in early September at age 73.