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Silver Line project gets a new chief

By Karen Goff

Monday - 8/11/2014, 9:30am  ET

First Silver Line train pulls in to Wiehle-Reston East/Credit: 
Mike Heffner, Vita ImagesThe Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority has hired an experienced transportation project leader from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) as executive director of the Silver Line project.

Charles Stark will take over the project as Phase II  – extending the rail line from Reston through Washington Dulles International Airport to Ashburn – gets underway.

Stark succeeds Pat Nowakowski, who resigned this spring to become president of the Long Island Railroad.

Phase I of the Silver Line opened to the public July 26. The 11.7- mile rail line, Metro’s first new line in more than 20 years, has four stops in Tysons Corner and one at Reston’s Wiehle Avenue. Wiehle-Reston East will be the end of the Silver Line until Phase II opens in 2018. It is by far the busiest stop on the Silver Line, according to Metro officials.

Stark has 40 years experience in  rail transportation, including 20 years engineering and operations experience with some of the largest transit agencies in the U.S. and 20 years experience in senior executive positions with private engineering firms, MWAA said.

His most recent post was vice president and project executive for Aecom, a major engineering firm with specialty expertise in large transit infrastructure projects, where he managed several projects for Los Angeles MTA, including the Westside Subway Extension.

He previously was assistant general manager of San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit system and executive officer for engineering and construction for the Los Angeles MTA. He also has held a number of other positions, including leadership of a team involved in rebuilding New York’s World Trade Center complex and its public transit facilities following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Stark holds a master’s degree in civil engineering from Manhattan College and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from City College in New York. He is a registered professional engineer in Virginia and California.

“The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is fortunate to have someone of Charles Stark’s broad experience in transit construction and engineering in this position as we complete the Silver Line project,”  Airports Authority President and CEO Jack Potter said in a statement. “He will be instrumental in achieving our goal of providing top- quality transportation infrastructure for the National Capital region.”

The $2.9 billion Phase II will include six rail stations, including five at ground level and one on an elevated structure; nine entrance pavilions and pedestrian bridges; aerial guideways through Dulles Airport; and  89,000 feet of track.  Engineering and design work on Phase II has been ongoing since last year.

Photo: Silver Line train in Reston/File photo by Vita Images