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Posted June 5, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

McDonnell: State funding for Silver Line depends on union deal

All will go smoothly for Virginia's funding of the Silver Line to Dulles unless unions are helping lay the tracks.

In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Monday, Gov. Bob McDonnell assured that $150 million in commonwealth funding will arrive for Phase II of the proposed Metro Silver Line to Dulles International Airport, as long as organized labor doesn't.

"The Commonwealth remains committed to providing its funding; however, certain legal issues must be resolved before this can occur,'' McDonnell wrote in the letter.

Those legal issues stem from legislation and budget language passed by the General Assembly and signed by McDonnell, which prohibit project labor agreements on the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority's Silver Line.

PLAs typically are collective bargaining agreements with labor organizations that ensure employment terms and conditions prior to hiring.

The MWAA is expected Wednesday to vote on whether to drop incentives for organized labor in the project.

"If MWAA acts to ensure that this is the case, the Commonwealth will provide the $150 million in additional funding, without any further conditions, when it is due in 2013,'' McDonnell wrote in the letter.

Virginia's $150 million contribution is aimed to help soften the impact of toll increases necessary to fund the project, according to McDonnell.

Loudoun County supervisors also said they will withhold their estimated $200 million contribution if unions are involved, according to The Washington Post.

Phase II of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project will expand rail service to Dulles International Airport. Phase I of the project, which extends from Tysons Corner to Wiehle Avenue in Reston, is expected to be completed in 2013, according to the project's website.

The MWAA oversees Reagan National and Dulles International airports, as well as the Dulles Toll Road and construction of Silver Line.

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