Image via WMATA

Saturday’s Silver Line opening ceremony will welcome a regional list of government and transportation celebrities, including Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. For Metro General Manager Richard Sarles, though, the event will mean pressure and a chance to show the D.C. area that all of the delays and management problems haven’t stopped Metro from finishing a Metrorail expansion that the District and Northern Virginia can look at with pride.

Metro has seen plenty of disasters throughout its history, and the Silver Line could be an opportunity to actually gain public recognition for something positive.

Nevertheless, whether the Silver Line turns out to be a success story or horror story, it’s going to be an expensive story. Federal dollars, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will have spent about $5.6 billion – and perhaps a lot more – by the time both phases of the project are complete and the tracks send trains all the way to Dulles International Airport. If things improve and deadlines don’t get blown again, that could happen as soon as 2018.

This is how much each of those sources will be contributing:

Image via MWAA


Here’s how all of those costs breaks down:

11 miles – the distance covered by track being built for the second phase of the Silver Line.

11.4 miles – the distance covered by the new track built for the first phase of the Silver Line from Wiehle Avenue to East Falls Church.

115,000 – the number of daily Silver Line trips that Metro expects to see (by 2025).

$750,000 – the cost of WMATA’s current promotional campaign to make people aware of the Silver Line.

800,000 – the average number of daily riders the Metrorail system expects to serve after the Silver Line opens.

$2 million per month – the expected revenue that Metro has lost since January, thanks to the Silver Line’s delays, which may total as much as $18 million.

$150 million – how far over budget Metro expects the first phase of the Silver Line to be.

$2.7 billion – the expected cost of building the second phase of the Silver Line project, which is scheduled to open in 2018.

$2.9 billion – the cost of building the first phase of the Silver Line project.

$5.6 billion – the expected total cost of building the Silver Line.

If you’d like to read more, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has a larger report about it in this financial update from May: