Adam Tuss, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Wednesday dropped a controversial pro-union preference for the second phase of the Dulles Rail Project.
The authority is the group overseeing the the massive Metro extension.
The vote clears a massive roadblock that was standing in the way of the next part of the subway project.
"This is a step forward with honoring Virginia law and practice as well as the wishes of the Dulles Rail funding partners," says Sean Connaughton, Virginia transportation secretary.
State and local leaders had serious concerns about that preference because Virginia is a right-to-work state.
Virginia leaders said no more state funding would go to the project if the preference for unionized labor stayed in place.
Loudoun County leaders also said that preference could keep the county away from the project altogether.
The second phase of the Dulles Rail Project would take the subway to Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County. Loudoun County has until July 4 to decide whether it wants to move forward with the two planned Metro stations that would be beyond the airport.
This is the second major concession the authority has made on the project. The authority recently reversed course on plans to build a more expensive underground Metro station at Dulles International Airport in favor of an above- ground station.
"The Commonwealth remains committed to completing the Dulles Rail project in a timely and cost effective manner and will endeavor to work with stakeholders to make this project a reality," Connaughton says.
The first phase of the Silver Line is currently under construction. It will extend Metro service from East Falls Church through Tysons Corner and out to Wiehle Avenue in Reston. It's expected to open in late 2013.
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