For immediate release: November 3, 2023

Metro statement on passing of former Board Chair Mort Downey

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is saddened to learn of the passing of former federal Board Member, Board Chair and transit industry titan Mort Downey. Downey served on WMATA’s Board of Directors from 2010-2016 and was the very first federal member appointed to the Board. His decades of transportation experience were invaluable to the Board, particularly in policy setting and oversight. 

As Board Chair, he led the Board in taking on some of WMATA’s toughest challenges, including the recruitment and selection of a new General Manager, overseeing Metro’s responses to Federal Transit Administration and National Transportation Safety Board safety findings, and its oversight of Metro’s response to the FTA’s Financial Management Oversight findings. 

Mort was also known for encouraging Board members to take on a more public role during their Board service, especially in their interactions with Metro’s riders, and led the Board’s first “Meet-and-Greet” sessions with customers. His impact on the Authority, transit and transportation is immeasurable. His distinguished service will always be remembered. Our condolences to his family, former colleagues, and friends.