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Posted June 6, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

MWAA votes no unions in Phase 2 of Metro Silver Line

By Jeb Inge -- jinge@nvdaily.com

Unions won't be helping lay the tracks of Metro's Silver Line Phase 2 to Dulles International Airport.

Citing the potential loss of commonwealth and local funding Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority voted Wednesday to remove project labor agreements from Phase II of Metro's extension to Dulles International Airport.

The 11-1 vote comes two days after Gov. Bob McDonnell's letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in which McDonnell promised $150 million in commonwealth funding for the project so long as organized labor was excluded. Virginia's $150 million in funding is to help mitigate a future increase in tolls on the Dulles Toll Road.

"This is a milestone vote as it resolves an ongoing issue with the State of Virginia and insures the timely advancement of Phase Two of the rail project," the MWAA states in a release following the meeting.

Project labor agreements typically are collective bargaining agreements with labor organizations that ensure employment terms and conditions prior to hiring and the commencement of work.

The MWAA also cited in its resolution the potential loss of funding from Loudoun County as a reason for its decision.

"The Authority also wishes to ensure that the presence of the credit factor in the procurement for Phase 2 design-build construction services does not affect the upcoming decision of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors whether Loudoun County will participate in Phase 2 of the Project," the resolution states.

State Senator Mark Herring (D-Loudoun & Fairfax) cited the MWAA vote as the removal of obstruction to both commonwealth and Loundon County funding of Phase 2.

"I call on Governor McDonnell to see that these state funds are released in a timely fashion and without further condition. I will continue my effort to secure additional state funding for Phase 2 in order to bring down projected toll increases and lessen the burden on the Toll Road users," Herring said in a statement.

Phase 2 of the Silver Line expands Metro access from Wiehle Avenue in Reston 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.

"Today's vote is a major turning point for the Dulles rail project," Airports Authority Chairman Michael A. Curto said in a MWAA statement. "This project is vital to the economic growth of this region and the Board is determined to do whatever is necessary to finish the project as quickly and cost effectively as possible."

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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