The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced Thursday that Charles W. Stark has been selected as the new executive director of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, overseeing construction of the 11.4-mile Phase 2 extension of the Metro Silver Line from Reston, Virginia, through Washington Dulles International Airport to Ashburn in Loudoun County, Virginia.
Stark succeeds Pat Nowakowski, who resigned earlier this year to become president of the Long Island Railroad in New York.
Phase 1 of the Silver Line began passenger service on July 26, extending the Washington area’s Metrorail public transit system into Reston and Tysons, Virginia. The Silver Line currently runs between Reston and Largo, Maryland, via downtown Washington, D.C.
Stark has 40 years experience in the rail transportation industry, 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. Most recently he served as 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 Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), including the Westside Subway Extension.
In addition, he has served as assistant general manager of San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit system and previously as 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. He began his career as field engineer in General Electric’s rail car division and has extensive experience in rail systems.
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,” said Airports Authority President and CEO Jack Potter. “He will be instrumental in achieving our goal of providing top-quality transportation infrastructure for the National Capital region.”
Airports Authority Vice President for Engineering Ginger Evans added, “It is unique for someone to have such extensive background in rail operations, systems and also civil engineering. We are especially pleased with Charles’ leadership and successful track record in quality, safety, budget and schedule.”
Phase 2 of the Silver Line project, which will directly link Washington Dulles International Airport to the Metrorail system, 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 2 began last July, and the project is expected to be complete in about five years.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, established in 1987 by the governments of Virginia and the District of Columbia, manages and operates Washington’s Ronald Reagan National and Dulles International airports, which together serve more than 40 million passengers a year. The Airports Authority also operates and maintains the Dulles Airport Access Road and the Dulles Toll Road and manages construction of the Silver Line project, a 23-mile extension of the Washington region’s Metrorail system into Loudoun County, Virginia. No tax dollars are used to operate the toll road, which is funded by toll revenues, or the airports, which are funded through aircraft landing fees, rents and revenues from concessions. The Silver Line construction is funded by a combination of toll-road revenues, airport contributions and federal, state and local government appropriations. The Airports Authority is led by a 17-member board of directors appointed by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and the president of the United States.