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The target date for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) to transfer control of the new Silver Line to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will be May 27, WMATA General Manager Richard Sarles announced yesterday.The "operational readiness date" is viewed as a milestone because it will mark the beginning of WMATA's command of the Silver Line. Under the project's contract terms, WMATA then will have up to 90 days to open the line to the public, but service could start sooner, WMATA officials stated in an agency newsletter.WMATA's board will schedule the exact launch of passenger service on the line for a date after necessary testing, training and certifications are completed.During the next few weeks, WMATA will run trains on the Silver Line tracks, test signals and traction power, and make sure the escalators and elevators are operating smoothly. Employees will be trained in the new stations, security drills will be conducted, communications systems will be tested, and bus routes will be adjusted to serve the new stations.MWAA has been constructing the 23-mile extension of WMATA's existing Metrorail system, which WMATA will operate from East Falls Church to Washington Dulles International Airport west to Ashburn. The extension's first phase will serve Tysons, Virginia's largest employment center, and the Reston-Herndon area. Once Phase 2 is completed, the line will provide a one-seat ride from Dulles to downtown Washington, D.C. It's anticipated that Phase 2 service will begin in several years.
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