The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority decided Wednesday to proceed without a pro-labor provision for Phase II of the Dulles Rail project, likely meaning construction of the Silver Line will continue.
Phase II of the project goes from Reston to Dulles International Airport. At issue was the pro-labor agreement that would have given potential contractors for the project a 10 percent incentive if their bids favored union labor. Virginia is a right-to-work state, causing friction among lawmakers who have threatened funding.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell pledged the commonwealth will give $150 million to the Silver Line project in early 2013 now that the pro-labor agreement has been removed.
"Today's vote is a major turning point for the Dulles rail project," Airports Authority Chairman Michael A. Curto said. "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."
After the agreement was reached, former Democratic Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, who is running for U.S. Senate, issued the following statement:
"The MWAA Board has acted today to keep Rail to Dulles on track. It is unfortunate that some used the prospect of union workers as a reason to threaten defunding the project. Phase I of the project has been built in part by union workers in a safe, timely and cost-effective way. But, the most important issue is getting the project done."
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