The resignation of Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Marie Wednesday may have been the first, but it won’t be the last as Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s administration winds down.
Marie’s resignation comes a little more than two years after a nationwide search for the position. Rell’s press release says he stepped down to “pursue long-term employment opportunities.”
It’s unclear after talking with several sources where Marie, a Boston native, will end up.
The co-chairmen of the legislature’s Transportation Committee said they were “surprised” and “disappointed” by the announcement.
Sen. Donald DeFronzo, D-New Britain, said he’s surprised Marie would leave this early in the process.
During his tenure Marie helped increase the profile of mass transit in the state with a focus on the New Haven to Springfield rail line and increased morale within the department, DeFronzo said.
DeFronzo said he was a little concerned about Marie’s departure because he had played such a central role in the New Haven to Springfield rail line and its impact on the entire New England region.
“It’s important that we don’t lose momentum on that project,” DeFronzo said.
In addition to the New Haven to Springfield rail line, Marie oversaw the allocation of hundred of millions of federal stimulus funds for transportation projects, and was responsible for overseeing the addition of 300 new M-8 rail cars to the New Haven line and expanding Shoreline East services.
Rep. Anthony Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, said he was “disappointed” to see Marie go.
“He’s done a great job,” Guerrera said. “We’re going to miss him.”
“I thank Joe Marie for his service to the state of Connecticut and wish him well as he pursues other opportunities. Joe made a significant contribution to DOT over the last two years and his leadership will be missed,” Rell said.
Marie will be replaced by Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey Parker, whom Marie brought to the state shortly after he was hired in 2008.
“Deputy Commissioner Parker brings a wealth of experience in mass transit and commuter rail to which we are committed. I fully expect a seamless transition at DOT as we move forward with our goals,” Rell said.
DeFronzo said he has confidence Parker will be able to handle the job and make the transition seamless.