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MWAA Votes to Drop Project Labor Agreement

Silver Line Phase 2 will roll on minus a big sticking point that favored pro-union firms.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board voted Wednesday to drop the project labor agreement for Phase 2 of the Silver Line Rail to Dulles.

The PLA agreement for Phase 2 gave preference to firms using union workers. It was a voluntary arrangement for Phase 1, which is now more than 70 percent complete. Phase 1 will run from Tysons Corner to Reston's Wiehle Avenue. It is slated to be operating by December 2013.

Phase 2, originally scheduled to open in 2016, has already been delayed amid financial and political haggling. Phase 2 is slated to run from Wiehle Avenue to Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County.  

The mandatory PLA had been a The Virginia General Assembly also recently enacted a law and included language in the state budget prohibiting project labor agreements for Phase 2.

The PLA, as well as a possible opt-out by Loudoun County, has put the second phase of the rail project in jeopardy. Loudoun supervisors have also said they won’t contribute their share of about $200 million for Phase 2 if the labor agreement goes forward. The all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors has until July 4 to decide.

More than  Last week, a

The advocacy group Loudoun Rail Now said in a statement Wednesday it is pleased that the MWAA Board has voted to remove the Project Labor Agreement from Phase 2 and is hopeful the project can now move forward.

"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," the group said. "With this vote, the Commonwealth will move forward with its $150 million contribution to Phase 2. Equally critical, Loudoun County’s Board has made the removal of the PLA an essential pathway towards opting into the Silver Line."

if that is what it will take to move the project forward.

DRCA Chairman Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston) said Tuesday that MWAA's move is a positive one.

"This removes a big obstacle for Phase 2," he said. "I always thought Virginia's position about the PLA was greatly overstated - it is highly unlikely that any large contractor would not use it. But now that it is gone, Virginia can get on board and move this thing forward."

Plum also said the vote should be encouraging to Loudoun County.

"This should take away a concern Loudoun expressed," Plum said. "Now we can knock off the points of contention and get this process under way."

Rob Whitfield June 10, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Retired teacher, you ask the right question but nobody wants to answer. To clarify, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is building Dulles Rail. Upon completion, the project will be turned over to the Metropolitan Washington Area Transit Authority to operate as the Silver Line. There are certainly problems with MWAA, most notably their lack of accountability to the public, the finance structure planned and the lack of current economic or financial feasibility of the project. However, the potential long term costs and problems to taxpayers due to gross mismanagement by WMATA will cause far greater consequences. Our politicians -both Democrats and Repbublicans - and so called local business leaders have declined to even investigate these issues.
Bob Bruhns June 11, 2012 at 03:48 AM
These are all very strong arguments to stop right here. Approving this fiasco would be a huge mistake. A stunning, unbelievable, colossal, epic blunder. I am dumbfounded that anybody would even consider it for a single minute.
the-stix June 11, 2012 at 11:49 AM
You have posted perhaps hundreds of messages in these and other forums , all essentially saying the same thing.. often many each day. You clearly hold yourself as the “smartest kid in class” and everyone else is stupid. Why should anyone listen to you any longer?
Bob Bruhns June 11, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I point out the facts; people can look or not look. Why should anyone listen? Mainly so that they might know just how bad this rail plan really is, and so that they might not be deceived, and think that our government is looking out for us in this project. People should know that the FTA bungled the price of the RT 28 rail station by $53 million, thus indicating that it would be appropriate to review these, and other costs. (By the way, MWAA carefully conceals these costs by redaction.) And people should know that a preliminary review of those costs reveals ridiculously excessive charges for several big line items that the FTA unwittingly revealed. People should know that this rail project is premature, and that as a result of that and its stunningly excessive pricetags, it will take something like $50 million to $75 million payments every year for 55 years just to reduce the resulting road tolls. And people should know that MWAA's part in this disaster is only part of the story, because WMATA is also waiting in the wings to bring us additional crippling costs. Several others point out the inappropriateness of rail at this time, the defective road toll funding, the bogus financial plan, and WMATA waiting in the wings with more big expenses for us. But I am the ONLY one pointing out the ridiculously excessive line-item pricetags. I speak out so that people might stop and think: Why should this price gouging be permitted? That is why people should listen, stix.
Bob Bruhns June 12, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Also, people should know that the total advertised price for Dulles Rail Phase II appears to be nearly two times what it should be. That means that the Phase II project costs about a billion and a half dollars more than it should cost, and of course that means a heavy load paying back the big pile of money that our leaders propose to borrow for it. A lot of strange financial games have been played to confuse that issue - including the FTA game of pushing the costs of the Rt 28 station and the Phase II parking garages onto Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, and then the FTA and the counties, and our business and political leaders, and almost all of the news media, pretended that those costs just went away! People really need to look at that and see it for what it is - financial deceit. And this all comes on top of the earlier overcharge for Phase I. Unfortunately, the FTA did not slip up and reveal big-ticket line item costs for Phase I, or perhaps this huge ripoff would have been stopped a lot sooner. Really, stix - how smart does someone have to be, to look at the prices of comparable jobs, and see the obvious overcharge in this rail project? And why should this price gouging be allowed to happen?

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