WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Pro-Labor Agreement Dropped From Dulles Rail Plan

Play associated audio
Supporters of the Silver line outside the Loudoun County Board meeting June 4. 
Martin Di Caro
Supporters of the Silver line outside the Loudoun County Board meeting June 4. 

The next phase of the Dulles Rail project will not give preference to construction contractors who promise to hire union workers. 

Although the Metropolitan Airports Authority Board previously included a project labor agreement (PLA) as part of the construction plan, board members voted this morning to remove the PLA from the project in order to ensure continued state funding for the rail line. Only one board member, Robert Brown, voted to keep the agreement. He says he doesn't trust Virginia to keeps its $150 million in the project anyway.

"I don't find that believable," said Brown. "I would find believable a grant agreement signed by the Commonwealth and the Airports Authority to provide these funds. My concern is getting the funding, and I don't think we have any assurance of getting that."

State funding is instrumental to determining whether Phase 2 of the Dulles rail project will be delayed as long as 18 months. Today's vote came amid threats of the Commonwealth of Virginia and Loudoun County pulling hundreds of millions of dollars in funding out of the project. Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton says his state is in, but the death of the PLA does not guarantee Loudoun County's participation.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and Republicans in the General Assembly say the project labor agreement (PLA) violates the state's right-to-work law by giving a preference to contractors who would choose union labor. Most Virginia construction workers are non-union.

MWAA officials have publicly defended the PLA, saying that if Virginia withdraws its money, tolls on the Dulles Toll Road could double, and the project could be delayed.

Key for the project's future will be Wednesday night's Loudoun County Board meeting. Board members heard from residents both for and against continuing funding for the project Monday night, and the board is expected to discuss the $270 million that represent's Loudoun's share for Phase 2. Loudoun has until July 4 to make a decision.

NPR

Hieronymus Bosch Died 500 Years Ago, But His Art Will Still Creep You Out

Known by some as "the Devil's painter," Bosch depicted imaginary animals and souls being violently tortured. At least one critic believes he's the father of modern art.
NPR

With A Zap, Scientists Create Low-Fat Chocolate

Scientists say they've figured out how to reduce the fat in milk chocolate by running it through an electric field. The result is healthier, but is it tastier?
NPR

The View From The Northeast Corridor: Deep Divisions Ahead Of 2016 Election

Despite a history of Democratic electoral solidarity, a trip through the Northeast finds Republicans hoping to make inroads in November and Democrats pushing for the voting power of immigrants.
NPR

President Obama Acknowledges 'Brexit' To Silicon Valley Crowd

President Obama delivered a speech Friday at Stanford University, and remarked on the Brexit vote in front of a crowd of young, tech-forward, pro-globalization attendees from 170 countries.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.