The first portion of the $5.6 billion Silver Line of Washington, D.C.’s, Metrorail subway system is now open for business, with more than 11 miles of new track in northern Virginia. It is the first extension of the Metrorail system since 2004.
While the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) owns and operates the Silver Line, the new line was constructed by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA). The partnership came about through a mutual desire to have a rail line running directly to Dulles International Airport. In its current state, the Silver Line stops approximately 5 miles short of the airport, but both agencies expect to have the full line constructed and operational by 2018.
Originally slated to open in December 2013, construction crews ran into numerous delays while building the Silver Line, leading to the July launch date.
Funding for the mega-project has come from a variety of sources. The federal government contributed $900 million for the first phase, with another $1.9 billion scheduled for phase two. The majority of the remaining funds will come from toll increases on the Dulles Toll Road, operated by MWAA.