WAMU 88.5 : News

BRAC Delay Out Of Local Va. Officials' Hands

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In 2008, the Department of Defense chose to move 6,400 employees from other locations to Mark Center.
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In 2008, the Department of Defense chose to move 6,400 employees from other locations to Mark Center.

With time running out before the September deadline for the move, which is affiliated with DOD's Base Realignment and Closure process, local leaders say they're still playing a waiting game.

When it comes to halting or at least adjusting the plan to move 6,000 workers into a building along one of the most highly trafficked roads in the area, without proper transportation improvements, Fairfax County Supervisor Sharon Bulova and other county leaders are feeling a bit powerless.

"Getting agreement for the extension is not something the county supervisors will make happen but we sure are weighing in strongly," she says.

With Fairfax and Prince William Counties, and the City of Alexandria, having ruled out a lawsuit against the federal government regarding the Mark Center complex, weighing in may be all they can do.

Last month, Rep. Jim Moran, the Democrat that represents part of Northern Virginia, urged the municipalities to consider suing DOD to delay the move. They would have grounds, he argued, after the DOD Inspector General released a report finding fault with the agency's process leading up to BRAC.

At today's Fairfax board of supervisors meeting, Bulova will ask her colleagues to approve a letter to Senator Jim Webb's (D-Va.) office asking him to support legislation allowing the Secretary of Defense to delay certain BRAC initiatives by one year.

But Bulova says even a one year delay isn't ideal. The Virginia Department of Transportation says it will likely take at least 18 months before construction can start on the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) ramp connecting the complex to I-395. The ramp will likely help what's expected to be a traffic nightmare.

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