Montgomery County Leaders, Metro Resolve Issues With Silver Spring Transit Center, Eye Fall Opening

Montgomery County and Metro resolved their outstanding issues related to the troubled Silver Spring Transit Center, according to the county's point person on the project, and leaders are confident the structure will open in early fall.

"(Metro) told us that there are no issues with operating this facility and taking it into their possession," Director of General Services David Dise told News 4. "They will own it in August, but when they open it for operations is likely to be in September."

In a phone interview Thursday, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett echoed that sentiment, saying he expects the transit center will open in the fall.

"Oh, yes, but as Yogi Berra said, it ain't over 'til it's over," Leggett said.

Metro signaled recently more work was needed to fix structural issues within the building, and the transit agency told Montgomery County it wanted $15 million set aside in an escrow fund to cover the cost of any future repairs.

Now, according to the county, that has been resolved.

"They have dropped their request for the $15 million escrow fund," Dise said. "They have dropped their request for the city to relinquish our development rights into the future, and we are now working together focusing on the transfer of ownership to Metro."

The building is already years behind schedule and about $50 million over budget. It still sits behind a chain-link fence in downtown Silver Spring.

When it does open, it will carry buses and taxis, and link directly to Metro and MARC trains.

Metro said it is still not ready to set an official opening date.

"We had a productive meeting with Montgomery County (Wednesday) to resolve matters. However, we cannot accept the facility without approval from the WMATA Board of Directors," writes Metro Spokesperson Sherri Ly in an email. "We will announce an opening date once the facility is accepted and ready for operations. Anything outside of an official announcement is speculative."

The Metro board is scheduled to meet next in September.

Dise said there are a few minor punch list items to figure out before then, including signage and lighting issues. Buses began practicing driving through the facility this week.

"I think we are really excited to have this finally done," said Dise.

At least for now, the soap opera of this transit center seems headed for a happy ending.

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