A real mix of items — everything from financial reports to new contracting practices and yes, even a bit on the Silver Line — out of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s board meeting on Wednesday.

Going to the airport?

Yes, there will be new bus service from Wiehle Avenue to the airport. A ride on the Silver Line Express will cost $5, less than half of the price of a trip on the Washington Flyer from West Falls Church. The new service will debut when the rail line opens.

A rendering of the new Silver Line Express bus that will provide service to Dulles Airport from the Wiehle Avenue-Reston East Metro station. (Courtesy of MWAA)
A rendering of the new Silver Line Express bus that will provide service to Dulles Airport from the Wiehle Avenue-Reston East Metro station. (Courtesy of MWAA)

Silver Line, Phase 1 There is roughly $21.7 million left in the contingency fund for Phase 1, and there are hints that the $2.9 billion price tag may go higher. Ginger Evans, MWAA’s new vice president for construction, said it will take six to eight months to close out the contract with Dulles Transit Partners once work is complete. Handover to Metro is expected May 27. Once that happens, Metro officials have 90 days to inspect and train their folks. Word is they won’t take all 90 days, so some are already speculating that service could begin in late July or early August.

I’ll believe it when I’m riding a Silver Line train.

Note, this was the response to Board member Warner Session’s question about a $31.3 million contract modification awarded to Dulles Transit Partners, the Bechtel-led group building the first phase of the Silver Line.

 

Silver Line, Phase 2.

Design work on the second phase of the Silver Line is about half complete. Officials said heavy construction is slated to begin in 2015, with a target opening in 2018. There were some raised eyebrows because it appears that officials have already had to dip into the second phase’s contingency fund, even though work only recently began.

Valor Award

Officials recognized Corp. Keith Shibley, an MWAA police officer and MWAA’s representative on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, for his courage during Navy Yard shootings. Shibley, a nine-year veteran of the MWAA force was among the first officers to respond to the report of gunfire at the Navy Yard last September.

Air traffic statistics

Not a good month for air traffic at either Reagan National or Washington Dulles. Passenger traffic was down 3.6 percent at both airports. An MWAA report attributed the decline to the winter weather. Reagan National got 12.7 inches of snow in March alone (compared to 1.6 inches last March). Dulles got 19.8 inches of snow during March of this year. Last March, only 7.4 inches fell.  You can see MWAA’s full Air Traffic Statistics report here.

MWAA and the regional economy

The board also received a briefing on the 2012 economic impact study that examined the impact of the airports on the region’s economy. Among the highlights: MWAA’s operations account for about 4.5 percent of the region’s gross domestic product and support more than 387,000 jobs (direct, indirect and induced). The full presentation is here.

And last but not least, your random Silver Line fact: