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When can you really ride the rails to Tysons?

Wednesday - 10/5/2011, 1:02pm  ET

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- Construction on the Metrorail extension to Dulles International Airport is already out of the ground and very visible along the Dulles Corridor.

But when will you actually be able to hop on a train to Tysons Corner?

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority President Jack Potter attempted to clear up some of the confusion during a board meeting Wednesday.

"Right now (completion of construction) is scheduled for August 9, 2013," Potter said. "But here's what happens when construction is complete: The railroad is turned over to (Metro), which has six months of testing. So passengers will not have access to the rail until 2014."

As far as the $2.7 billion budget for Phase I of the project (which will run from Falls Church through Tysons and end in Reston), Potter admitted it's a close shave.

"It's a tight budget. But we are on budget as of today," he said. "If you look at construction projects of this size, it is not abnormal for you to exceed your budget. I'm pretty proud of the fact that right now, we appear to be on budget."

Talks are still ongoing between the airports authority, Virginia, the federal government and Fairfax and Loudoun counties regarding a funding agreement for Phase II of the project (which will run from Reston to Dulles International Airport and then into Loudoun County).

"We're hoping to have (a memorandum of understanding) by late fall," said Potter.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)