DC Metro Silver Line director resigning

Anne Wernikoff

The director of Washington, D.C.’s Silver Line Metrorail extension is resigning, The Washington Post reports

The announcement comes as the first phase of the Metro extension is nearing completion. The line will run 11.5 miles in northern Virginia through Tysons Corner to Reston. Another 11.5 miles is scheduled to be built later to connect the D.C. Metro system to Washington’s Dulles International Airport. 

The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, which is building the Silver Line and operates Dulles, announced this week that its rail director, Pat Nowakowski, is resigning to take another transportation-related job, according to the report. 

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Jack Potter, the CEO of the airport authority, told the paper that Nowakowski has "skillfully guided" the Silver Line's construction. 

The airport authority has been criticized for repeated delays in the opening of the new rail line, however. 

The line was initially expected to be turned over to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which operates the rest of the capital region’s subway system, last summer in preparation for a projected November 2013 opening for passengers. 

But the Silver Line has faced multiple delays, including a false start last month when contractors building the railway declared it was “substantially complete” only for the airport authority to determine it was not ready. 

Among the issues the D.C. airport authority said last month that it was handing the Silver Line back to contractors to rectify were missing certificates of occupancy for 20 buildings along the rail line, escalator and elevator problems and water leaks. The airport authority also said there were problems with new tracks’ automated train control system, which is the technology that was blamed for failing during a deadly 2009 accident on Metro’s existing Red Line. 

The Silver Line is one of the largest public transportation projects under construction in the United States. The line is intended to connect Dulles with downtown Washington, and it is being built in part with $900 million in federal money that was awarded by the Department of Transportation.

The full Silver Line extension is not projected to be completed until 2018.