Why the Silver Line extension to Dulles was delayed and over budget

Silver Line’s second phase was to be different. It fell into the same trap: During eight years of construction, the new $3 billion stretch of rail recorded multiple problems, cost overruns and four years of delays.

Fifteen years ago, federal auditors warned that having the Washington region’s airports agency depart from its usual line of work to build a multibillion-dollar rail extension carried risks.

The quality-assurance program of Colorado-based Hensel Phelps — in charge of building the Dulles rail yard — appeared to be “ineffective or nonexistent.” The contractor fired back, saying schedule delays were the result of “MWAA’s mismanagement and slow response to issues that arise on the project.”