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Dulles Metrorail Phase II, And the Union Jobs It Brings With It, Appears Primed for Proceeding

For months we have waited with baited breath to find out whether or not the construction jobs tied to the second phase of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project would become a reality. It appears that, as of yesterday, they have. From the Washington Post:

After months of negotiations, Secretary Ray LaHood said he had come to an agreement with Fairfax and Loudoun counties, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Metro and Virginia.

The resulting memorandum codifies how partners in the project will pay for the second phase of the Dulles line, which will extend rail service from Reston to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun.

The project, estimated to cost at least $2.8 billion, will be paid for with contributions from all the major stakeholders.

“I’m on cloud nine,” LaHood said. “After months of very hard work with an extraordinary group of people from the counties, Metro and MWAA, we have put together what I believe is one of the best agreements for taxpayers.”

The deal still needs the approval of the stakeholders’ governing boards. But federal transportation officials said they expect that to occur before the end of the year.

For Phase II to commence, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell needed to chip in $150 million in state funds, something he was being pressured to use as leverage against construction unions who had been awarded the bulk of the Phase I jobs under a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). Big business lobbies in the area fought vehemently against the use of a PLA on Phase II despite great results during Phase I. It appears that as of yesterday, McDonnell has ignored the business community’s cries.

The Post article makes no mention of the PLA battle (chronicled here, here, here and here), but highlights another point of debate as the true deal-maker:

The airports authority and local politicians also had argued over whether the station at Dulles Airport should be built below ground, at a higher price, or above ground, for less. They ultimately agreed to put the station above ground, a decision that is expected to save more than $400 million.


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