District Department of Transportation Director Leif Dormsjo.
By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA
Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser wants the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to operate more like a state DOT, agency director Leif Dormsjo told the Metropolitan Washington Road & Transportation Builders Association (MWRTBA) bi-monthly member breakfast meeting on May 20 at the ARTBA building. Dormsjo joined Bowser when she took office at the beginning of 2015.
Bowser has a “strong vision for DDOT,” Dormsjo said. “The mayor is plugged into what the department needs to do in times of reform and what resources are needed to take it to the next level. She wants to elevate the DDOT from what it’s historically been characterized as more of a municipal DOT to more of a state DOT profile.”
Dormsjo’s experience under Martin O’Malley as both Governor of Maryland and Mayor of Baltimore has helped him have a view of both local and state level issues. He was Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation before coming to work for Bowser. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Dormsjo said DDOT is “not as experienced as other high functioning DOTs across the country.” “We don’t have that credibility when it comes to larger projects,” he said referencing the struggling D.C. Streetcar project. But he and the mayor are in the process of reorganizing the department, with support from the City Council, Dormsjo said.
“We are going through an amazing development boom in this community and the department needs to get things organized and be involved to do a better job of partnering with business and the development community. Time is money,” Dormsjo added.
MWRTBA meetings are networking and learning opportunities for transportation construction professionals in the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Washington area. MWRTBA’s membership includes contractors, subcontractors, materials suppliers, engineering firms, law firms, accounting firms, bonding and insurance firms, the construction equipment industry, and the traffic safety products industry.