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The cost of a planned extension to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) Silver Line has increased by $76 million, or about 2.6 percent, compared with previously announced figures for the project's first phase, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced on Monday. The total cost of project's first phase is now estimated at $2.982 billion, airport authority officials said in a press release. The cost increase was due to design modifications made to enhance the line's safety and reliability, they said."Over 100 design changes were made in Phase 1 – a large number of them ordered in the final months of the construction process – requiring additional design, engineering, construction, management and oversight work," said Charles Stark, the airports authority’s executive director of the Silver Line project. Many of the modifications would be incorporated into Phase 2 of the project, which has extended construction of that phase by about 13 months, he added.Both phases are part of WMATA's 23-mile Dulles Corridor Metrorail project, which will provide a ride from Dulles International Airport to downtown Washington, D.C. It includes four stops in Tysons Corner, Va., and one in Reston, Va.The project's total cost is an estimated $5.6 billion, which will be covered by a mix of federal funds, toll-road revenue and other local funding, according to the project's website.Meanwhile, WMATA also announced yesterday it will host a public hearing Thursday following the release of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for its proposed Potomac Yard Metrorail Station. The new station would be placed adjacent to U.S. Route 1 in an effort to alleviate congestion along that road, according to the DEIS.