Following word that the already-delayed Silver Line would need additional testing before it could be turned over to D.C.'s transit authority for passenger service, Virginia Senator Mark Warner whipped off a letter complaining that delays hurt commuters -- and cost millions in lost fare box revenue.
"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," Warner wrote in a letter to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the agency building the $5.6 billion transit link.
Warner says Metro will fail to collect $2 to $3 million in fares each month the Silver Line is delayed. Warner says Silver Line won't open now until April.
MWAA officials responded in a statement, saying they share Warner's desire to see Phase 1 of the Silver Line rolling as soon as possible. Still, they say, safety takes priority.
“We thank Sen. Warner for his longstanding leadership on the Dulles Metrorail Project," MWAA said. "His steadfast support and guidance have been pivotal to the success of the Airports Authority and the Silver Line. We share the senator’s, and everyone’s, desire that Phase 1 of the Silver Line be completed and open for passengers as soon as possible. We are working closely with the contractor and our partners to identify opportunities to accelerate the timeline. However, safety remains our top priority and we are committed to providing a system that is safe and reliable for the traveling public. We are confident the senator shares that commitment.”