Supervisor Matthew F. Letourneau (R-Dulles), the Loudoun County and Virginia’s representative on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors, told his colleagues on the county board March 16 that the latest COVID-19 stimulus bill, the American Rescue Plan, has staved off dramatic cuts for Metrorail.
The transit agency had been looking at making deep cuts to personnel and service as it struggles to right itself and balance its budget. But Letourneau said that while the details of the bill’s impact on Metro are still being worked out, it looks like possibilities like closing some stations and further extending waits between trains will be off the table. Those had been talked about for January 2022, and the closures could have included the Loudoun Gateway station near the intersection of the Dulles Greenway and Old Ox Road.
Letourneau said the agency would likely continue at its current, approximately 80 percent, service level, into 2022.
However, Metro is also facing further delays.
He also said the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is building the Silver Line extension into Loudoun, now expects substantial completion the project around Labor Day, although the handoff to Metro will happen sometime later. But with that project still working through a variety of problems with the construction, that assumes all those issues have been resolved by then.
Metro had planned on opening the Silver Line extension sometime this year, but Letourneau said he’s been told that the extension into Loudoun is now not expected to begin service until 2022. The Metro staff has told the Metro board they expect to open that track in the first quarter of 2022, possibly February.
Letourneau represents Virginia as a principal director on the Metro board, the first person from Loudoun to do so. He was appointed by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.