Statement of Federal Transit Administrator James S. Simpson Regarding Metrorail Extension through Tysons Corner


04-30-08
Contact: Paul Griffo
Telephone: (202) 366-4043

Earlier today, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has substantially improved its proposal to extend Metrorail in response to technical, financial and institutional concerns raised by the Department of Transportation in January.

Consequently, we have sent the required 10-day notification to Congress that we intend to move the project into the Final Design stage of FTA’s New Starts Process. FTA will commit $158.7 million to use toward completion of a financial plan, construction plans, detailed engineering specifications and cost estimates, and other technical requirements.

However, there are still hurdles facing this project and we will not commit any federal funds for construction until a number of outstanding issues are resolved. These issues include MWAA’s ability to: ensure that sufficient funds are available to cover risks; demonstrate that the project can proceed on schedule and on budget; properly oversee the single largest design-build contract in the history of the New Starts program.  In addition, we must be assured that state-of-good-repair needs for the entire Metro system will be addressed.

Secretary Peters and I have been personally involved in the discussions leading up to this decision, and we appreciate the cooperation and commitment of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, MWAA and WMATA to assure FTA and the public that this project can be responsibly managed and meet statutorily-required thresholds for cost, risk and other factors under the New Starts process.

It is our hope that the project will continue down this path toward success and deliver a vital and new rail capacity for the region. 

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