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The long-delayed Silver Line took a step toward an eventual opening today, with an agreement between the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority paving the way for passenger service this summer, Metro announced on its website.

Given D.C.-area transit’s recent forecasts, however—-the Silver Line would be “substantially complete” last November, we were told, and the H Street streetcar would be carrying passengers by “January, not later than early February”—-residents hoping to travel to Tysons this summer would be well advised to take the news with a dose of skepticism.

The agreement will allow MWAA to continue finishing up elements of the Silver Line, which will branch off from the Orange and Blue lines in Virginia and eventually extend to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County, after turning it over to Metro, but before passenger service begins. The existing plan had been for MWAA to complete its work in full before Metro took over the line. The first phase of the line will end in Reston after four stops in Tysons.

Perhaps chastened by the backlash against earlier missed deadlines, Metro stopped short of announcing an opening date any more specific than the summer season.

Still, the Silver Line has thrown down the gauntlet with a forecast opening time, however vague. Will the streetcar, already more than two months behind Mayor Vince Gray‘s pledge, pick it up and aim for an earlier date in the increasingly ridiculous race between the two?

Photo by Darrow Montgomery