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“To have a statement from the governor not even made to us that the money will be there next year … I don’t think we can be relying on that,” he said.

The letter satisfied MWAA board Chairman Michael A. Curto, though, who said after the vote that the agreement was “crystal clear,” though he also made clear that he was quite supportive of the PLA.

Board member Dennis L. Martire, vice president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), voted to drop the language, but still said it was offensive that the working conditions could be changed on the second leg “because of politics.”

“It’s a political issue to begin with,” Mr. Davis said. “We have never had a mandatory PLA in Virginia in our history. I said at the time, I don’t think everyone knows what they’re doing.”

Virginia laws passed during the recently completed General Assembly session leave decisions on PLAs to contractors, prohibiting the banning or requiring of the agreements, along with bonuses or preferences, on projects funded by the state.

Proponents say the agreement keeps costs down. But opponents say the agreement discriminates against the 97 percent of Virginia construction workers who are nonunion and could drive up costs by scaring off potential bidders wary of adopting a PLA.

The first phase of the project, which will run from East Falls Church through Tysons Corner to Wiehle Avenue in Reston, is slated to be finished in 2013.

Loudoun County has until July 4 to decide whether to opt out of providing funding for phase two, which would run through Dulles airport and into the county. Mr. Curto said Wednesday that if Loudoun opts out, it would delay the project by up to two years. If everything moves as planned, phase two could be open for riders by 2018.