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
Subject: Phase 2 Metrorail, Mandatory Union Provisions
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;
- 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;
- 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.
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