U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has joined the chorus of dissatisfaction over additional delays for Metro’s Silver Line opening.
Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is building Phase I the rail extension that will run from Tysons Corner to Reston’s Wiehle Avenue, said this week it needs additional time to test and modify the software for the Automatic Train Control System.
That is a the second delay announced in several months, pushing the rail opening perhaps several months into 2014.
“MWAA’s announcement earlier this week of a three-month delay due to testing of the automatic control system follows an unsettling pattern of delays,” Warner wrote in a letter Wednesday to MWAA CEO Jack Potter. “This recent announcement follows the delay announced in June that pushed project completion from 2013 into 2014. I agree with your assessment that safety should be the utmost priority in guiding your efforts, but I believe that can responsibly be achieved while also adhering to an agreed-upon project schedule.”
Warner says the delays are not only an inconvenience for eager commuters, it is costing the commonwealth money.
“With every additional month of delay, the traveling public suffers and millions of dollars in fare-box revenue are lost. I urge you to do everything in your power to complete the work as quickly and responsibly as possible and avoid further delays,” he wrote.
See full Warner letter.
Throughout the process, thee Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project has not set a firm date. Officials have said all along that testing — and glitches found during testing — could make the opening date a moving target,
“This is why we test,” Pat Nowakowski, project executive director for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project in press release. “Our guiding principle throughout this process has been ‘safety first’ and we remain committed to that principal. We will not do anything that might compromise safety or create unsafe conditions for the traveling public.”
Officials have said the Silver Line would likely open three months after being turned over to Metro. The original turnover date was slated for August. Then after the June delay it was expected to be November. That date has now come and gone, with more delays now expected.