News & Politics

Silver Line Planners Say They Can’t Project When Trains Will Start Running

Yet another delay to the way-overdue Metro addition.

Some day, maybe. Photograph by Flickr user DearEdward.

Northern Virginia commuters waiting to hear when they might finally be able to ride the Silver Line can keep waiting, with yet another setback to the massively delayed addition to Metrorail.

At a meeting today of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is responsible for building and testing the Silver Line, the project’s leader said every public-address speaker along the 11 miles of track built so far needs to be replaced.

As a result, the Silver Line’s planners now have no estimate for when they might turn the troubled project over to Metro, and continued delays to the new line are eating into the transit authority’s budget. Metro spokesman Dan Stessel tells Washingtonian that the agency projected revenue of $2 million a month from Silver Line ridership in the 2014 fiscal year. But as the Silver Line has continued to miss its deadlines—in late 2013 planners were still promising a January launch—Metro is being forced to re-assess its financial outlook.

“It puts pressure on our operating budget,” Stessel says. Metro says it continues to “work cooperatively” with the airports authority on the Silver Line, the first phase of which will connect DC with Reston, but does not know when it will get the keys to start running trains.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.