The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has nabbed a construction expert who helped build the Los Angeles subway system as its new Silver Line chief.

Charles Stark will head the multi-billion-dollar project to stretch rail from the recently opened stop in Reston to Dulles Airport and beyond.

“What impressed me the most about him is he’s a grown-up,” said Thomas M. Davis III, a member of airports authority board. “He’s been though this before. He’s had to deal with all the different elements you have to deal with, form labor to politics to bad weather. Everything that can go wrong he has seen it before – and been able to handle it.”

Stark was also a top transportation official in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Stark will replace Pat Nowakowski, who resigned in April after five years at the helm of the $5.6 billion rail project. “He did a good job, but he’s an operations guy, not a construction guy,” Davis said of Nowakowski.

Stark “helped stand up the subway system” in Los Angeles, Davis noted. “We feel very confident in his ability to handle any kind of situation.”

And the next phase of the Silver Line, after the earlier bumps, should go more smoothly, Davis said.

“We won’t have to move utilities” as was done in Tysons, and “there won’t be as big an underground factor,” Davis said. And the authority, which had more expertise running airports than building massive projects, is now more experienced.

“Hopefully we’re a lot smarter and wiser after building phase one,” Davis said.