Taxpayers Win as Dulles Rail Drops Pro-Union Contracting Rules

In a win for Old Dominion taxpayers, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) yesterday rescinded a pro-union project labor agreement (PLA) for the building of the Metro Dulles Rail project, thanks to pressure from Governor Bob McDonnell and the Loudon County Board of Supervisors (the governor and all members of the board are Republicans).

By at least one estimate, PLAs increase project costs by 12-18 percent. Under a PLA, contractors can be required to employ workers from union hiring halls, acquire apprentices from union apprentice programs, and have employees pay union dues. MWAA is building the new Metro line, which will be operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority when completed.

The project is already over budget, so the last thing MWAA should be doing is doling out favors to organized labor — a special interest if ever there was one. Virginia lawmakers rightly recognized this and threatened to withhold additional funds unless the project stop adding insult to injury and drop the PLA.

Here’s hoping that Commonwealth lawmakers continue to display this kind of fiscal vigilance on a consistent basis.

For more on project labor agreements, see here.