Connolly noted that public transportation was part of the original vision for Dulles Airport when it first opened six decades ago, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the idea really started taking off.
“When we started to revive this [idea] 25 years ago, it was a lonely place and a lonely time. There weren’t many people who were enthusiastic about it,” Connolly said. “There were plenty of people who advised us against it. ‘You can’t. You shouldn’t try it. Don’t even think about it.’”
Even more recently, with the pandemic shifting work and commuting habits, there was some apprehension around investing in a major project that would move lots of people to offices that all of sudden didn’t have as many employees.
But Alcorn says the pandemic hasn’t reduced the future impact that the Silver Line Phase II will have on the county and region.
“We do have challenges, but I don’t see the pandemic as changing…the long-term good investment that Metrorail will have on this corridor,” he told FFXnow.
McKay agreed, saying an investment of this nature could actually drive people back to Metro, since it will now be accessible to thousands more.
“Today, opening these stations, we’re literally opening a whole new world of opportunity for people who never had [this type of] transit available to them,” he said.
For all the focus on Silver Line Phase II’s past challenges and future potential for long-term growth and economic development, longtime Del. Ken Plum (D-36) highlighted those who the new rail line is designed to support.
“It’s not about…wanting to talk about the ups and downs of getting the project [done],” he said as rain poured steadily outside the Innovation Center station. “It’s about those people who will be riding the Metro to work and the people who will be able to get home in a timely way. That’s what it’s really all about — those people who are being served.”
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