Metro Silver Line Project: Transportation Secretary brings all the key players together

This afternoon Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with all of the key players in the nearly $3 billion Dulles Metro rail project, trying to overcome a sticking point on a labor agreement and keep the project going into Loudoun County.

"We have gathered here the Loudoun county chair, the Fairfax chair, the WMATA chair and the Vice Chair of the Metro. We just had a very good meeting. And what we've decided to do is continue to stand behind this project; it's a very important project," LaHood says.{ }

"The one sticking point, I think that probably is the biggest sticking point, is a provision called PLA, Project Labor Agreement," LaHood says.{ } "And the Virginia legislature, when they voted for their budget said that that was something that they prohibited on this project.

"So we're going to work with stakeholders, our friends from the airport and the Commonwealth and we'll work this out. There is actually an agreement that's been signed by all of the parties. So the one sticking point I think can be worked out, and it will be worked out pretty quickly, and we'll proceed ahead."

After several years in the planning, more than a $1 billion already spent, and phase one of the Silver Line Project nearing an end, it's hard for some Loudoun County residents to believe its come down to this.

"It is amazing, I thought the whole thing was already settled, and the funding was put in place and it was supposed to come to the airport," says Kirk Randall, a Loudoun County resident.

"This is an issue, it needs to be dealt with, and I made a commitment to bring the people together to deal with it and solve it," LaHood says.

DOT is trying to get Loudoun County to commit to its $200 million share of the nearly $3 billion project, That would ensure the Silver Line goes all the way to Dulles.

But county supervisors and state officials are willing to kill the funding, if the airport authority insists on unions getting preference in the bidding process.

"If they want $150 million from the state, they have to take the preference language out," says Loudoun Supervisor York.

Loudoun has until July 4 to decide. But many residents are decidedly upset that it's taken this long.

"It's very difficult that it's that hard to make a decision that would make a decision on something that would be good for the county," says Judy Minchew, a Loudoun County resident.