Senator Black urges Loudoun Board Against Metro Phase 2

The following letter has been sent, on official Virginia Senate stationary, to Scott York and the Loudoun Board of Supervisors.   Because of the mandatory union provisions in Phase II of the metro Senator Black and Delegate Bob Marshall are urging our Board of Supervisors to not sign on to this project that will cost Loudoun citizens millions in increased toll road fees and increased taxes.

I cannot understand why our Loudoun Chamber of Commerce has befriended Tim Kaine when it was Governor Kaine who gave away the Dulles Toll Road to WMAA (Washington Metropolitan Airport Authority), making it no longer a Virginia state road, but a road controlled by the Airport Authority, giving them the right to raise tolls as high as they choose to fund the metro, or for any other reason.  That means the tolls can and will increase to close to $10 each way for Loudoun residents to get to DC.   In coming years it will cost many Loudoun residents $40 a day in tolls on the Greenway and the Dulles Toll road to commute to jobs at Tysons Corner, Arlington, and Washington, DC.  We can all imagine what that will do traffic on Rt 7.   Now the state has NO say at all.  The Dulles Toll Road may as well be in Maryland for all the say Virginia has.  Thank you Governor Kaine!

Loudoun will find these exorbitant fees will depress our housing market and our commercial development.  Who wants to buy a house in Loudoun that will cost an extra $200 a week for their commute?  The alternative being to sit for hours in traffic on Route 7, or eventually, to pay nearly $10 each way for a metro commute that will take over 90 minutes from Loudoun to the Pentagon (their best guess), and closer to 2 hours to get into DC?  Plus the time it will take to drive to a metro station and pay to park there, if there is available parking.  That’s a four hour commute via metro each day.  How many people will want to do that?  What businesses will locate here knowing that they will get no business outside of Loudoun because people will have no affordable way to get to their businesses?  Once we sign on to metro phase 2, there will be no affordable way to get from Loudoun to the rest of the metropolitan area.  That can’t possibly help any Loudoun business to grow and expand.

I am shocked that Tony Howard, President of our Chamber, continues to advocate for the metro when he knows that the thousands of jobs on phase 2 will not go to Virginia construction companies because they are not union shops.   The jobs will go to construction companies in Maryland and other states with closed shops, but not to companies in Virginia because we are a right-to-work state.  How can that possibly be a good thing for Virginia?  Millions of dollars going to out of state contractors.   We in Loudoun get to pay for phase II of the metro, but our workers can’t work on it.  We get more traffic on our roads because of it, but our Virginia contractors cannot work on it.   The single largest construction project in the state of Virginia will have no workers from the state of Virginia, yet we will all pay for it.   I have wonder how local construction owners like Bill Dean, owner of MC Dean, feel about not being able to get metro contract for their workers? How can any of this seem fair to anyone in Loudoun County?

I might also point out that while Governor McDonnell pledged $150 million toward the initial $300 in costs of phase 2, the Governor has not put forth that money in any bill.  It appears now that the citizens of Loudoun will need to fund the entire $300 million.  From what funds will that money come?  From our schools?  Or from an increase in property taxes?  Citizens of Loudoun will not find either of those alternatives acceptable.

In the letter below Senator Black says ” Despite its perceived economic benefits, however, both he and Delegate Marshall now acknowledge that MWAA has a dismal record of cost containment.  These have given rise to compelling arguments that Phase 2 may have become prohibitively expensive for Loudoun County and for Dulles Toll Road commuters whose tolls will pay for approximately 75% of its entire cost. 

Thank you Senator Black and Delegate Marshall for standing up for the workers, citizens, and taxpayers of Loudoun County.

>>>>February 20, 2012

Hon. Scott K. York

P.O. Box7000

Leesburg,VA20177-7000

Subject:  Phase 2 Metrorail, Mandatory Union Provisions

Dear SupervisorYork:

We are aware that the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors will soon decide whether the County will participate in Phase 2 of Metrorail.

We write to express concern over MWAA’s staunchly pro-union stance toward this project.  Union mandates will impose heavy tolls and taxes on citizens of Loudoun County.  Therefore, for Phase 2 of Dulles Rail, I urge that you insist on legally-enforceable guarantees that MWAA will not favor union shop bidders or resort to a mandatory project labor agreement.  I especially encourage you to resist MWAA’s recently proposed ten percent “scoring” bonus to favor Phase 2 bidders who include a project labor agreement, because such a scoring bonus would be, in effect, the same as a mandatory project labor agreement.  Absent guarantees of open shop rules, with no scoring bonuses or other favoritism, I would urge that Loudoun County not participate in Phase 2 at all.

One of the earliest supporters of Metrorail to Dulles Airportwas Senator Black.  Despite its perceived economic benefits, however, both he and Delegate Marshall now acknowledge that MWAA has a dismal record of cost containment.  These have given rise to compelling arguments that Phase 2 may have become prohibitively expensive for Loudoun Countyand for Dulles Toll Road commuters whose tolls will pay for approximately 75% of its entire cost. (emphasis mine)

Our concern centers on MWAA’s feverish opposition to adoptingVirginia’s Right to Work Laws for this project.  During this legislative session, we introduced House Bill 2 (Marshall) /Senate Bill 3 (Black) with the support of National Right to Work.  Those bills would have prohibited using Virginia funds if Phase 2 were subject to a mandatory Project Labor Agreement.  Mandatory PLAs require that non-union workers be fired if they do not promptly join labor unions.

After intense lobbying, MWAA defeated HB 2.  Afterward, SB 3 lost by a single vote on the Senate floor.  Had just one Democrat voted for SB 3, it would have passed, protecting Virginia commuters from higher tolls and residents from higher taxes.  The defeat of HB 2/SB 3 leaves MWAA free to discriminate against non-union labor.

A mandatory PLA or a favored process for PLA bidders (de facto mandatory PLA) would restrict Phase 2 to union labor.  MWAA’s insistence on manipulating the bidding to favor union labor and PLAs puts a cloud on the project because:

  • 96% ofVirginiaconstruction workers are non-union.  Most of the jobs onVirginia’s largest public works project will go to out-of-state workers from Maryland and DC;
  • Since most Virginia contractors are Right to Work, contracts will principally be awarded to out-of-state bidders;

·        Phase 1 of Metro has been under construction in Virginia since March 2009.  Despite its use of a so-called “voluntary” PLA, most of its jobs are held by Maryland construction workers[1];

  • According to Virginia’s Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), union PLA contracts on Phase 2 could result in cost increases of 12-18 percent, unnecessarily adding $250-500 million to Phase 2[2];

 

  • Commuters from Loudoun andFairfaxCountieswill pay much of the extra quarter to half billion dollars for union labor in higher tolls.

Early in the legislative session, HB 33 and SB 242 were believed to have addressed the mandatory PLA issue.  Although they do prohibit mandatory PLAs to build public works of Virginia state agencies, attorneys at Legislative Services–an arm of the Virginia General Assembly—indicate that those measures are not applicable to MWAA or WMATA contracts because neither are “state agencies.”  This explains why MWAA took no action to impede enactment of HB 33 or SB 242, while fiercely resisting House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 3.

ABC correctly points out that any pre-award PLA mandate will discourage non-union contractors from competing for the work.  They express concern over the direct influence of MWAA Board Member, Dennis Martire, the VP and Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager of LIUNA–the Laborers International Union of North America.  His involvement in the PLA decision presents a blunt conflict of interest. (Emphasis mine)

Although Governor McDonnell pledged $150 million for Phase 2, he has not signed MWAA’s proposed Phase 2 MOU.  He insists that Phase 2 allow fair competition for non-union bidders.   MWAA has responded by proposing a 10% “scoring bonus” for bids using PLAs.  Bonus points for PLAs are obvious ploys to circumvent Virginia’s Right to Work Laws.  Discriminating against non-union contractors by using the union “bonus points” almost guarantees total union control over Phase 2. (emphasis mine)

Left unchecked, MWAA’s pro-union discrimination on Phase 2 will inevitably lead to substantial increases in tolls and property taxes for LoudounCounty.  (emphasis mine)  If the Board is seriously contemplating supporting Phase 2, we respectfully urge you to insist on iron-clad guarantees barring discrimination against non-union workers and ensuring that local contractors can compete fairly for work on MWAA’s contracts.  That demands a level playing field—one without “bonus points” or other gimmicks favoring costly union bidders.

Sincerely,

Richard H. Black                                                        Robert G. Marshall

Senator of Virginia, 13th District                               Virginia House of Delegates, 13th District

CF:      Gov. Bob McDonnell

Sec. of Transportation, Sean Connaughton

Congressman Frank Wolf (VA-10)

Mark Mix, President, National Right to Work Foundation

Patrick Dean, President, NOVA Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.

Barry DuVal, President & CEO, Virginia Chamber of Commerce

Tony Howard, President and CEO,LoudounCountyChamber of Commerce

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21 thoughts on “Senator Black urges Loudoun Board Against Metro Phase 2

  1. Thank you Senator Black and Delegate Marshall!

    Tony Howard has accepted and is shilling for the Kaine Transportation plan, higher tolls, congested roads and no local control. Will the Loudoun Supervisors side with former Governor Kaine and Tony Howard or the citizens of Loudoun County?

  2. Chris, I agree that Loudoun county and Prince William are the tips of the spear in Virginia. If republicans can’t win those districts, this year and next, we won’t win the national elections.

    The metro will be a HUGE issue in 2013. Tim Kaine gave away the toll road. He put us in this position. To have our own Chamber of Commerce embrace him, and the outcome of his mistake, is disgusting. I always supported the Chamber and thought that the Chamber supported our workers, our businesses, and our citizens. Apparently they’ve become democrats who are happy to stick the citizens with outrageous tolls and taxes. So very disappointing.

  3. Metro into Loudoun is a huge mistake and Im disappointed to see some of this Board supporting it who ran as fiscal conservatives.

  4. I disagree that the silver line will be a “waste” for Loudoun. It is a positive for businesses locating and Loudouners always complain they lose out to Fairfax. The silver line starts to level the playing field. One can’t just look at the costs.

    1. I hope so, too, but I think other efforts have to be undertaken to accomplish that as well. I’m working to put together an organization dedicated to improving eastern PWC and Stafford counties called the “America’s Main Street Alliance.” I’ll post more on that here when the time is right.

  5. Potomac Clubber, If this thing gets rammed through our family will look to move out of Loudoun as taxes and debt continue to grow. The fiscal situation will be so bad in 4-5 years that PWC and Clarke Counties will get many disaffected Loudouners. Our BOS will be responsible for pushing out their best consumers and homeowners.

    1. Ruth, I suspect once pockets of Loudoun start to look like little Arlington due to the metro, plenty of people will be moving west and south. After my kids are out of school there is nothing keeping us from moving 20-30 minutes farther either way.

  6. Loudoun always loses to Fairfax because Fairfax is closer to DC. duh. Arlington is pretty dense too and Alexandria. There is no subway along the Dulles toll road and that road is packed with office buildings and has been for decades. It’s location, location, location, proximity to DC and the airport.

    Our house values will decrease while our taxes increase to pay for the stupid subway that 1% of us will ride. On top of that, Loudoun will have no funds for roads, because they sunk it all into the subway. Our roads will be more crowded than ever because of the increase in tolls on the toll road. The whole thing is a recipe for a disaster.

    I can’t believe that nine people who ran as fiscal conservatives would even consider this debacle. I’ve already heard names being bantered about as candidates to primary those Supervisors who vote for metro. Voters elected 9 republicans NOT to spend more money, to spend LESS money. If these 9 find themselves unable to do that, the voters will not be pleased. No surprise there. They voted for fiscal conservatives because they want fiscal conservatives. Seems rather simple.

  7. Star- a couple of thoughts-
    1. I can think of lots of things that fit into the category of “good for business” that taxpayers just cant afford. Your theory sound great but is not one of a fiscal conservative. I can think of lots of things that are “good for KK,” that I dont have. Personally I would love it if a limo picked me up for work everyday at my door and drove me to my office. Think of how much I could get done on the way, the stress relief, wow! Good for KK. Theres just one small problem, I CANT AFFORD IT, so consequently I dont have it… get it?
    2. more than half of Loudoun’s land area isn’t even served by sewer and water, a basic service element supplied by government. Talk about lack of infrastructure! And much of this land is East of 15. I live 1 mile from a water line, but its “too expensive” to serve my neighborhood so guess what, we dont have it… simple fiscal analysis.

  8. Patriot…. typical liberal drivel infurs that we should all buck up and pay for it because one of them wants it. As I’ve always said…they are VERY generous with other people’s money…but kinda tight-fisted with their own money.

  9. We all have “dreams” and “wants” don’t we? I dream about winning the lottery and want to eat whatever I want without gaining weight, but my grown up mind knows that ain’t gonna happen.

    This is a matter of what Loudoun needs. What we don’t need is more debt, and from the way things look now the Supervisors are going to shape the argument that our debt outlook is sound and that we can finance Phase II with bonds if necessary. Further, we will hear the argument that commercial development – that ALL the Supervisors campaigned on – to equalize the tax burden, can not be met without Metro. This is all poppy-cock. If the current BOS is going to rely on metro Phase Ii to bring economic development, wait to see the skyrocketing residential personal property taxes. Let’s keep in mind LC already has the highest tax rate in the whole state.

    Sadly, I hear certain members of the current BOS mimicking talking points from Tony Howard. Unfortunately for Tony Howard he has done a complete 180 degree/about face on Phase II and can not be trusted. When the President of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce meets with and basically endorses Tim Kaine’s transportation policy, then tries to dictate to a government body on how to spend taxpayer money because his cronies will benefit from said expenditures – we are all screwed.

    http://www.leesburg2day.com/opinionletters/article_1fee447e-a705-11e0-83c2-001cc4c03286.html

    Don’t let these arguments go unanswered.

  10. “One can’t just look at the costs.”” When they intend to spend MY money, yes, I can look at the cost. It’s not a good investment. Even their own reports show that. There is ZERO evidence that subways bring more big business. They bring more traffic and more housing, very near the stops. The rest of the county pays for that increase in housing with the accompanying increase in needs for services.

  11. We’re all safe now… the grammer police have arrived.
    It’s a small case of unadjusted synonymism. If I’d been signed in, I’d have grabbed it yesterday….ESPECIALLY had I known that one of the Woodward and Bernstein wannabees was going to drop by.

  12. I take it that there was nothing more pressing on your schedule than patrolling various blogs looking for ways to prove your superior spelling skills to lesser individuals. That’s funny…I don’t care who you are!

  13. Monk, I just watched Animal House the other night and I suspect Lloyd’s preferred response would be “Thank you SIr, may I have another”.

    He’s pretty close to uttering the famous quote from the irritating Niedermeyer “You are all worthless and weak now drop and give me twenty”.

    (cough, cough Niedermeyer!)

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