Autumn on Lake Audobon

Autumn on Lake Audobon
Autumn on Lake Audubon, Photo by Alison Kamat

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Some unanswered questions on Silver Line "substantial completion"

We are hearing this morning from WAMU, RestonNow, and the Washington Post that MWAA is in the process of accepting DTP's work on Phase 1 of the Silver Line, possibly within 30 days.  Yet, there are several unanswered questions about this messy agreement:

1.  Does this mean that ALL the shortcomings found in the last two MWAA inspections of DTP's work (excluding the RTU replacement, which we know will take a year or so and another $1.8MM) will be satisfactorily corrected within a month?  If not, what does it mean?

2.  Why would WMATA--which has been on the grill for its poor safety and reliability record--even contemplate accepting a rail line (even for testing and training) that does not meet all the contractual requirements of "substantial completion"?

3.  Does this mean that DTP is paying $25,000 per day penalties for the late delivery of the project (after April 9, 2014)?
If "yes," then who is benefiting from the roughly three-quarters of a million dollars in penalties that may be forthcoming?  Are they being applied to the grotesque share of the Silver Line debt carried by Dulles Toll Road users?  If not, why not?
If "no," why isn't DTP paying a penalty for its late and shoddy work? 
4.   What are the specific terms of the various "side deals" that are needed to arrive at this Rube Goldberg "substantial completion" arrangement?

5.  What will be the impact of this near-bogus acceptance inspection process of MWAA's application for TIFIA financing, financing that could save toll road users as much as a third in huge future toll growth?

6.  Who will pay for the extra costs created by having people monitor the Silver Line trains rather than RTUs for the next year or so?  If not DTP, why?

7.  And, oh yes, when will the Silver Line to Reston be open for business????

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