The public agency overseeing the Silver Line’s construction, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), has a team of at least a dozen staff assigned at the project office in Herndon. MWAA hired a construction and maintenance management firm, Washington-based Jacobs Engineering, to lead its oversight efforts. Jacobs has approximately 100 employees working on all aspects of the project.
Additionally, officials from VDOT and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation are assigned to the Silver Line’s Herndon headquarters, and the Federal Transit Administration also has an oversight role.
Yet when the contractor team led by Bechtel submitted the project for approval in late February, it was rejected with pages and pages of items that needed to be fixed, including missing certificates of occupancy for the five new rail stations in Tysons and Reston. That error by the contractors seemed mystifying considering the stations cannot open to a single commuter unless inspectors at the Virginia Department of General Services sign off on the certificates.
“Right now we're not focused on blame. We are focused on getting the job done,” said Tom Davis, the former Virginia congressman and current MWAA board member who was appointed to the board by then-Governor Bob McDonnell to lead the Silver Line to completion.
“The reason you still have problems after all of this oversight is you still have to go through the inspectors. Inspectors can be a pretty ornery lot sometimes and they are sticklers, and from our point of view, we are not going to accept anything the inspectors haven’t approved,” Davis said in an interview with WAMU 88.5 FM.Click here for Di Caro's full report. You can also listen to his radio report here.