Washington, D.C., Gets a New Subway, But Sliver Line Almost Didn't Happen

July 24, 2014

With the opening of the Silver Line just days away, it’s easy to forget just how close it came to not happening at all.

The federal money almost dried up. There was endless sparring over whether the tracks should run above ground or below — and how many buildings should be built around them. Officials in Maryland and the District, who have to foot part of bill for operating the new line, could have balked. Some Virginia legislators wanted to privatize the Dulles Toll Road — the project’s cash cow — and use the proceeds elsewhere.

But after years of struggle, something remarkable is about to happen: All the flubs and machinations and fights over money are giving way to the simple act of swiping a SmarTrip card and hopping on a train.

On Wednesday, the rush was on to prepare for a day decades in the making.

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