Former Pan American World Airways chairman and president Najeeb Halaby will be chief executive officer of Dulles Access Rapid Transit Inc. (Dart), which has proposed building a $300 million high-speed rail line linking the Metro system in suburban Virginia with Washington Dulles International Airport, Dart said yesterday
Halaby, a venture capitalist, was Federal Aviation Administration administrator during the Kennedy administration, when the airport was built. He also is the father of Queen Noor of Jordan, the former Lisa Halaby.
Dart also announced that it has completed its initial organization and capitalization, and selected several new directors, including two former secretaries of Transportation.
"This is an important step in fulfilling the vision of 25 years ago, when the FAA opened Dulles airport," Halaby said. "Dart will provide a safe and convenient corridor along the Potomac basin, helping to relieve traffic congestion and aid community development in the area."
Halaby would not give any details of the firm's capitalization, except to say that "it is enough to complete the planning and feasibility studies" that he hopes to finish within a year. Dart's feasibility studies will be directed by Bechtel National Inc.
At the same time, the Department of Transportation is conducting a federal feasibility study of the proposed 16-mile rail line linking the West Falls Church Metro station and Dulles airport.
DOT announced in April that it had chosen The Rice Center in Houston, a nonprofit research arm of Rice University that focuses on solving urban problems through private-public joint initiatives, as its main contractor in the feasibility study.
Halaby, who also recently was tapped as chairman of the board of Janelle Aviation, a Leesburg-based aviation management and service organization, said that Dart hopes to complete the rail line to Dulles between 1990 and 1992.
Dart's new directors are David C. Acheson, a Washington lawyer and former vice president and general counsel of Communications Satellite Corp. (Comsat); Alan S. Boyd, president of Airbus Industries, North America, the first secretary of Transportation in 1967-68 and former chief executive officer of Amtrak; William T. Coleman Jr., a Washington lawyer and a former secretary of Transportation; and John L. McLucas, executive vice president of Comsat, former secretary of the Air Force and administrator of the FAA under President Ford.
Dart's founding members were Bahman Batmanghelidg, a Virginia real estate investor, and Alejandro Orfila, former secretary general of the Organization of American States. Orfila is no longer on the board of directors, but maintains an interest in the company. While Batmanghelidg remains on the board, Robert Keith Gray's interest was bought out by other individuals.