The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority voted this morning to drop its policy favoring project labor agreements for Phase Two of Rail to Dulles.
The policy, which would’ve given a 10 percent bonus to the final evaluation of companies that promised to use a project labor agreement, or PLA, was considered a serious obstacle for anti-union state and local Republicans.
Gov. Bob McDonnell said he would withhold the commonwealth’s $150 million investment for the second phase of Rail to Dulles if MWAA, the organization overseeing construction of the project, didn’t strike its PLA-preference policy. Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) is on record saying the PLA policy severely jeopardizes the Loudoun board’s vote to remain as a funding partner for the $5.5 billion project.
A PLA essentially is a collective bargaining agreement that applies to a specific project. It can set uniform wages, benefits and work rules for the project.
Proponents argue that PLAs improve safety and help ensure a project is completed on time and on budget; opponents say the agreements increase costs by mandating the use of union labor.
State Sen. Mark Herring (D-33rd) immediately issued a statement praising the MWAA board’s decision to drop the 10 percent incentive.
“The MWAA Board’s decision removes the major stated obstacle for members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors to commit to the project,” said Herring. “It is time for the board to vote to opt-in to Phase Two and bring Metro to Loudoun. The decision also frees up the already promised $150 million contribution from the Commonwealth to the project ... I will continue my effort to secure additional state funding for Phase Two in order to bring down projected toll increases and lessen the burden on the Toll Road users.”
The pro-Dulles Rail group Loudoun Rail Now quickly reacted to MWAA’s vote, as well, saying it “is pleased that the MWAA Board has voted today to remove the policy.”
“As clearly stated by the Loudoun Board of Supervisors and Gov. Bob McDonnell, removal of the PLA is the critical step in approving Rail to Loudoun ... With this vote, the Commonwealth will move forward with its $150 million contribution to Phase Two. Equally critical, Loudoun County’s Board has made the removal of the PLA an essential pathway towards opting into the Silver Line,” read a statement from the rail advocacy group.
|The Loudoun Times-Mirror
is an interactive, digital replica
of the printed newspaper.Open the e-edition now.