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Warner: Silver Line Delay Causes Travelers to 'Suffer'

Warner sent a letter this week expressing his concern over the Silver Line setbacks.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. | Patch file photo
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. | Patch file photo
Senator Mark Warner sent a letter to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority expressing concern over the delay in opening up the Silver Line. 

The MWAA announced the delay on Tuesday, citing the need for additional testing that would push back the project. 

View a full copy of the letter below. What do you think about the delay? Tell us in the comment section below.

Mr. John E. Potter 
President and Chief Executive Officer Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority l Aviation Circle 
Washington, DC. 20001 

Dear Mr. Potter, 

I write today to express my concern with the delay announced earlier this week to the completion of the first phase of the $5.6 billion Metro Silver Line extension. With every additional month of delay, the traveling public suffers and millions of dollars in fare-box revenue are lost. As you finish critical safety testing, I urge that you do everything in your power to complete the Work as quickly and responsibly as possible and avoid further delays so that our region’s commuters and travelers can benefit from this crucial transportation link. 

As you know, I have been a supporter of the work of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) for more than two decades, in my role as a member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), as Virginia’s Governor and most recently as a member of the U.S. Senate. In addition, I also have been a long-time supporter of extending rail to Dulles International Airport and beyond. I was proud to stand with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and other Virginia leaders in March 2009 to celebrate the award of $900 million in federal funds for the project’s first phase. I worked closely with MWAA Board Members, Secretary LaHood and other Virginia leaders to make the tough decisions two years ago to shed roughly $1 billion in projected costs from phase two in order to return that portion of the project to financial viability. I have also been a long-time and vocal proponent for securing a low-interest TI FIA loan for rail to Dulles that will keep costs down and minimize the toll increase Dulles Toll Road users will be burdened with to help pay for this project. 

MWAA’S announcement earlier this week of a three month delay due to testing of the Automatic Train Control System follows an unsettling pattern of project delays. 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 uppermost priority in guiding your efforts, but I believe that can be responsibly achieved while also adhering to an agreed-upon project schedule. 

I strongly urge you to complete MWAA’s testing in the most timely and responsible manner possible. I also am prepared to do everything I can to help you achieve this important goal for the taxpayers of Virginia,

Sincerely,
MARK R. WARNER United States Senator
John Strother December 07, 2013 at 09:33 AM
Phase 1 is only the city of Tysons Corner.

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