ARLINGTON, Va. - Sen. Tim Kaine may be one of the Silver Line's biggest fans, and he's not letting the delays in Phase One of the nearly $6 billion project dampen his feelings.
"This is the most complex single project I've ever been connected with in my 20 years in elected office," said Kaine, who worked to fund the first stretch as Virginia governor. "It is so big and complicated, there's going to be challenges."
In the end, he believes the construction and the wait will all be worth it.
"The experience of Metro so far, the experience of similar projects, tells me it's going to be immediately, upon opening, heavily used."
Phase One of the Silver Line is supposed to open sometime this summer, adding access to Reston, Tysons Corner and McLean.
He said the Metro expansion project also will help Dulles International Airport reach its full potential.
"Dulles was built on a footprint to enable 40- to 45 million passengers in and out a year and we're in the mid-20s now. You can't go beyond the mid-20s without a robust transit network that the Silver Line will help us find," he said.
The airport's international traffic, in particular, supports the region's economy, says Kaine.
In an update with reporters Monday, project officials described the latest hiccup that could delay the project yet again: Signals are misfiring, telling approaching trains to stop because a train is on the track ahead, even when no train is there.
Testing was needed to determine how long the repairs would take, and it's unclear whether it will affect the planned opening.
But Rob Troup, Metro's deputy manager for operations, said he was encouraged that progress is being made to resolve a list of other issues that must be addressed before Metro would take over the line.
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