LaHood sees light at the end of the DC Metro expansion to Dulles airport tunnel

At issue a provision in construction plans for the second phase of the proposed railway that would give preference in contracting to companies that use unionized workers. The provision, which was drafted by the airport board that was appointed mostly by Democrats, is sharply opposed by Republicans on in the Virginia state legislation and on the local county commissions.

LaHood said Wednesday after the meeting with the Virginia officials that he was 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," LaHood said.  "So the one sticking point I think can be worked out, and it will be worked out pretty quickly, and we'll proceed ahead."

LaHood has called the Dulles MetroRail expansion one of the most important transit projects in the country, and he has mediated an impasse between Virginia officials before, negotiating an agreement on the location of the Dulles airport station last year.

The first phase of construction of the railway, which is scheduled to open next year, is being built with the help of a $900 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration.

The contracting process for construction on the second phase has been set to also begin soon, but Virginia GOP leaders have threatened to withhold funding, citing the labor agreement and cost overruns on the first phase of the railway.

In an interview with a Washington radio Wednesday, LaHood said the outcome of the negotiations mattered to all Americans.

"The Metro system is America's metro system," LaHood said during an interview with Washington radio station WTOP. "It's the system that delivered 2 million people to President's Obama's inauguration. Not many people drove cars, but a lot of people used Metro."