The contractor building the Dulles Rail project is still employing more workers from Maryland than Virginia, even though the $6 billion project is located entirely in Virginia.
Dulles Transit Partners, the partnership led by construction giant Bechtel that is building the $2.8 billion first phase of the Silver Line, employed 290 Maryland construction workers and 250 Virginia workers in March, according to recently released data.
Virginia Republicans have accused the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the board overseeing the rail project, of favoring union labor, which, they said, favors workers from union-friendly Maryland rather than Virginia, a right-to-work state.
"The recent [project labor agreement] shenanigans will export jobs on [the second phase of the project] outside the region and increase the project's cost," Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity, R-Springfield, wrote recently.
Virginia did have nearly twice as many subcontractors on the job as Maryland. More than 300 subcontractors are from Virginia and 159 from Maryland. The subcontractors are not subject to a labor agreement that Virginia officials say encourages the use of union labor.
An earlier report on the project's workforce reported only workers employed by the main contractor, which favored Maryland and drew complaints from Virginia officials. But when subcontractors are counted, the totals show that 48 percent of the project's workforce is from Virginia; 39 percent from Maryland. Another 3 percent of the workers are from the District.
Workers also come from Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other states.
The latest jobs numbers come as Virginia and Loudoun County officials are threatening to derail funding for the second phase of Dulles Rail unless the airports authority drops it preference for union labor, something the authority has so far refused to do.
But airports board members, facing pressure from all sides of the political spectrum, are slated to meet in the coming weeks to reconsider that policy.
"We want Loudoun [County] in [the project], and we want the state money," airports board member Tom Davis said last week. "We've got to take steps to do that. Board members want labor protections, and the question is how do we put those together."