(Updated at 4:40 p.m.) The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is confident enough in the pace of construction on the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line that the project’s leader plans to retire on Independence Day — two months before the agency anticipates finishing its work.
MWAA Senior Vice President Charles Stark has announced that he will retire on July 4, Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project spokesperson Marcia McAllister confirmed to Reston Now. The Washington Post first reported the news yesterday (Monday).
Now 72 years old, Stark has served as executive director of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project since August 2014, overseeing the ambitious but oft-delayed 11.4-mile extension of Metro’s Silver Line from Reston to Ashburn through the Washington Dulles International Airport.
McAllister says Stark has decided to retire this summer, because construction on the rail line is now “99 percent complete,” and the project will soon be “moving toward testing which will lead to transfer of the project to WMATA.”
MWAA announced earlier this month that it expects the Silver Line to be ready for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to take over by Labor Day in early September.
“We are confident that team is in place to make that happen,” MWAA reiterated in a new statement.
Silver Line phase two will add six stations to the transit system, including one at Reston Town Center and two in the Herndon area. The project has been plagued by construction issues since work began in 2014.
Budget challenges stemming from depressed ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic also had Metro raising the idea of keeping some of the new Silver Line stations closed even after starting operations, presumably next year, though a new wave of federal relief will likely avert that possibility.
WMATA says it has no concerns about Stark’s impending retirement affecting the Silver Line project.
“We look forward to continuing to work with MWAA towards resolution of the remaining issues and acceptance of the project,” Metro spokesperson Ian Janetta said.
MWAA CEO Jack Potter commended Stark for his “leadership in bringing this large, complex project to this stage.
“We wish him all the best in his mid-summer retirement,” Potter said.
Photo by Chuck Samuelson/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project