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Dulles Rail nears key date for completion

Tuesday - 4/22/2014, 6:02pm  ET

DULLES, Va. - A key decision in the progress of the long-delayed Silver Line will come this week.

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority head Jack Potter says there is an ongoing analysis of testing along the first phase of the Silver Line, and an announcement on whether the line has reached "substantial completion" will come this week.

The contractual deadline for the airports authority to accept or reject the contractor's claim of substantial completion is Thursday.

Potter and his team responsible for building the new Metro line met with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe for about an hour Tuesday to update him on the troubled project.

McAuliffe and Potter both said after the meeting that the construction project is nearing its end, when it will be turned over to Metro.

If there are no new roadblocks in testing or from federal safety officials, Metro could take over the line by early May, and passengers could be able to ride from Reston through Tysons Corner to D.C. and Largo, Md., before the end of July.

While sources have told WTOP to expect the airports authority to approve the line, Metro is concerned about the issues with the automatic train control systems, an important safety feature.

Once the airports authority declares the line substantially compete, it will trigger a process leading to Metro taking control of the rails between Wiehle-Reston East and the East Falls Church stations.

Potter says it could be up to two weeks from the substantial completion designation before the line is considered to be "operationally ready." The operational readiness date allows Metro to begin final testing and training.

Metro has said that testing and training could take up to 90 days, but sources have told WTOP it could be done in as few as 60.

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