Whose Side is Tim Kaine on: Big Labor or Virginia Commuters and Taxpayers?

Union Preference Requirement for Dulles Metrorail Expansion Could Explode Project Costs

WASHINGTON – American Crossroads today called on Tim Kaine to state his position on the union preference requirement for the Dulles Metrorail Construction project, which would burden Virginia commuters.  Recent legislation in the Virginia House and Senate would remove the favoritism for unions, which then-governor Tim Kaine set into motion, yet Tim Kaine remains silent.

Preferential treatment for unions could spike project costs by 12-18 percent.  As a result, Virginians could be faced with nearly $20 in tolls each way to cover the soaring construction costs.

“Tim Kaine needs to make a choice between the big unions bankrolling his campaign and Virginia commuters and taxpayers who will pay the price for union favoritism on the Dulles Metrorail project,” said Nate Hodson, American Crossroads director of state and regional media relations.  “Kaine bears personal responsibility for importing union favoritism into this project, so he needs to level with Virginia voters about where he stands now.”

As Virginia’s governor, Kaine set into motion the union preference provision by giving the Dulles project away to the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) – without any limits on toll prices or project costs.  Kaine praised the decision as “a major victory for those who travel and commute throughout the region.”  In 2011, the MWAA voted to require contractors to offer union wages and union benefits, and to hire union workers.

BACKGROUND

In December 2006 The MWAA Agreed To Take Over The Dulles Toll Road And The Dulles Rail Project. “The agency that runs the region’s airports has agreed to take over the Dulles Toll Road.  The decision is expected to result in higher tolls to help fund the Metro extension to Dulles International Airport.  The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board of directors on Wednesday unanimously approved a 50-year deal to operate the highway and manage construction of a rail line to the airport.” (“Rates May Rise On Dulles Toll Road,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12/22/06)

On December 29, 2006, Virginia Officially Gave Control Of The Dulles Toll Road To The Airport Authority. “State officials said last week that on or around Dec. 29 they will sign documents to hand over control of the toll road to the authority, which runs Dulles and Reagan National Airport…” (Alec MacGillis, “Va. Handing Airports Authority Keys to Toll Road, Dulles Rail,” The Washington Post, 12/21/06)

MWAA Voted To Require Contractors To Offer Union Wages, Union Benefits, And Hire Union Workers. “The MWAA boards 11-2 decision last week to mandate a project labor agreement, or PLA, for the second phase of Dulles Rail construction, will not preclude nonunion contractors from bidding on the multibillion-dollar project. If they win the bid, however, it will require they follow specific wage guidelines, offer union benefits and hire union workers. The move comes on the heels of the boards decision to spend $330 million more on the Washington Dulles International Airport train station, against the wishes of state and local officials.” (Leah Fabel, “Airport agencys pro-union pact angers Va. Officials,” Washington Examiner, 4/15/11)

A Delegate Was Concerned Union-Friendly Agreements Could Increase Costs 12-18 Percent. “Del. Tom Rust, R-Loudoun, said he was concerned about the airports authoritys decision to require contractors building the second phase of the rail project to institute a union-friendly labor agreement, which opponents argue could drive up the ever-ballooning cost of the project by 12 percent to 18 percent.” (David Sherfinski, “Virginia Panel To Grill Board On Dulles Project,” Washington Examiner, 5/25/11)

Tolls Could Rise To Nearly $20 Each Way In The Next 30 Years. “Tolls on the Dulles Toll Road could climb from $2 to as much as $19.25 each way by 2040 to pay off the construction of the Dulles Rail extension, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday.” (Kytja Weir, “Dulles Tolls To Rise To Pay For Rail Construction,” Washington Examiner, 5/5/11)

Kaine Has Taken $114,000 From Organized Labor In His 2012 Senate Run. (The Center For Responsive Politics, www.opensecrets.org, Accessed 2/22/12)

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American Crossroads is a non-profit 527 political organization dedicated to renewing America’s commitment to individual liberty, limited government, free enterprise and a strong national defense through informed and effective political action. American Crossroads seeks to educate voters and empower citizens to hold lawmakers and office-seekers accountable for where they stand. Paid for by American Crossroads. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. dev-ac-www-americancrossroads.pantheon.io 

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Nate Hodson at [email protected] or (202) 370-6604.