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Virginia General Assembly Squabbles Over Dulles Rail Labor

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Responsibility for funding the Dulles Rail project could fall on commuters unless the General Assembly comes to an agreement regarding the labor used to build it.
Fairfax County
Responsibility for funding the Dulles Rail project could fall on commuters unless the General Assembly comes to an agreement regarding the labor used to build it.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is responding to another threat by the Republican-led General Assembly in Virginia to cut off funding for the Dulles Rail project.

If the state decides to withdraw a promised $150 million for Phase 2 of the project, MWAA board member Bob Brown says, toll drivers are the ones that will have to pay.

"Next year tolls are going to double on Jan. 1 if we don't get those funds from Virginia," says Brown.

At issue, Republicans in the General Assembly object to MWAA's decision to allow contractors to choose whether to use union labor with those who do get an advantage in the bidding process. Republicans say that would violate Virginia's right to work law.

In a statement, MWAA defends the voluntary approach to using union workers, saying it is the same method used by the federal government for major construction projects.

"What's going on now in Richmond is a legislature that is, for whatever reason, very very anti-labor," says Brown.

Brown says that Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell himself agreed to this arrangement when he signed his name to providing the funding for Dulles Rail.

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