Washington Dulles International Airport had been waiting for a subway connection to the city almost since it opened 60 years ago. Dulles is more than 40 kilometers from the city center and public transportation alternatives were scarce and not very functional, which made it almost compulsory to take an Uber, at a price of around 50 dollars to the center of the city. city. Starting this week, the Silver line connects directly to the airport for a maximum price of $6 from Monday to Friday and a flat rate of $2 on weekends.
The expansion of the Silver line has involved an investment of about 3,000 million dollars. It has allowed the opening of six new stations in the State of Virginia, where the airport is located. In addition to the terminal, it links residential areas and business centers on the outskirts of Washington to the city center. After decades of planning, bureaucratic obstacles and various obstacles, the works began in 2014 with the aim of having them ready in 2018, but the works had been delayed.
The Ronald Reagan airport, for domestic flights and closest to downtown, is already connected by subway, while Baltimore airport, in the metropolitan area, can be reached by train. The furthest away, Dulles, was also the worst connected by public transport. The main alternatives up to now were to travel by metro and then take a shuttle bus that covered the unfinished section, which delayed the trip, or take a bus, but without space for suitcases, designed mainly for airport workers and little integrated into the city’s public transport network.
With the opening of the expansion, the subway ride from Dulles Airport, where most international flights arrive, to the Metro Center station, in the heart of the city, takes 53 minutes. The travel time to the station from leaving the arrivals area of the airport is around 10 minutes. Traveling in Uber is usually a little faster, but if there is traffic the time can be similar or even longer.
New stops served by the Silver Line for an additional 18 kilometers of route are Ashburn, Loudoun Gateway, Washington Dulles International Airport, Innovation Center, Herndon, and Reston Town Center. With its opening, the Washington metropolitan area metro network already has 97 stations and 206-kilometer lines that extend through Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The Silver line crosses the city center from West to East (and vice versa) and has a direct transfer with the other five metro lines in the metropolitan area. The airport metro stop is accessed via long moving walkways.
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“I have worked for this day for the last 20 years because the capital of the United States, the capital of the free world, should have public rail service directly to its front door,” Senator Tim Kaine said at the opening. , who helped broker the agreement between the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA), WMATA, Commonwealth, and local governments to build the Silver Line while he was Governor of Virginia. “I am delighted that the newly opened pathways offer Virginians a comfortable and sustainable way to travel to and from the airport and help unlock the full economic potential of this corridor. It has taken a lot of work to get here, and I am grateful to everyone who has rolled up their sleeves to help us reach this incredible infrastructure milestone,” he added.
“The opening of the Silver Line is the culmination of one of the largest and most complex transportation infrastructure projects in the country,” said Jack Potter, CEO of the Washington Metropolitan Airport Authority. “Building the railroad to Dulles was part of the original vision for the airport more than 60 years ago,” he noted.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also participated in the opening: “The expansion of the Silver Line is going to make life more affordable, it is going to give people better access to jobs throughout the region, it is going to reduce the amount of time drivers sit in traffic on our highways, and will provide a level of convenience to getting to Dulles Airport that has been long awaited. One year after President Biden signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Act into law, we are improving transportation systems across the country to save commuters time and money,” he said.
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