Gabe Klein reflects on D-DOT tenure; Transportation advocate critiques McDonnell plan

December 22, 2010 - 07:14 PM
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The outgoing head of the DC Department of Transportation said he’s proud of what his agency was able to accomplish during his near-frenzied tenure, and he’s disappointed he won’t be sticking around to continue his work.

Gabe Klein talked at length about his nearly two year stint as head of D-DOT today on NewsTalk. He is clearly proud of the many initiatives that have been launched during his time in the Fenty Administration. While bike lanes and the bike-share program became fodder for his boss’s unsuccessful re-election campaign, Klein’s influence over the city’s transportation infrastructure clearly go well beyond that. He said that once his agency was able to demonstrate it could clear away snow quickly and efficiently (he said the city’s snow-removal operation in the 1980s and ‘90s was a disaster), Mayor Fenty was eager to give him the latitude to tackle new initiatives.

Klein talked about the city’s street car program, and he announced a $1 million federal grant that will allow DC to study the feasibility of running street cars along K Street downtown. We also talked about the multi-modal transportation system that will allow users the chance to determine which mode of transportation will allow them to reach their destination most quickly.

He told us he has not spoken with Mayor-elect Gray since the summer, a sign that Mr. Gray never seriously considered keeping Klein on. Although Gray was urged to keep Klein at D-DOT, others said it was time for someone new. After a trip to Costa Rica that starts Jan. 1 (he leaves office Dec. 31), Klein says he will begin to consider what he will do next.

Part 1 of our interview with Gabe Klein re-airs today at 4pm, 6pm and 8:30pm on TBD TV. Part 2 is here:

We also talked today with Bob Chase of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance. He said the transportation proposal put forward recently by Gov. Bob McDonnell is a decent short-term plan, but he insists the state – and region – continue to lack a coherent long-term plan for prioritizing and paying for roads and transit improvements.

Chase says state leaders lack the political will needed to come up with an ongoing source of transportation funds, though he credits Gov. McDonnell with conducting an overdue audit at V-DOT. Our Q&A with Bob Chase can also be seen, in its entirety, at the times listed above.

Thursday at 10am: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and Alex Mooney, newly-elected chairman of the Maryland Republican Party.

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