Hundreds cry foul at BRAC town hall
Hundreds of Fairfax County residents, worried about increased traffic congestion near the Defense Department's new facility set to open next year in Alexandria, pleaded with federal and local officials Thursday night to delay the move.
About 6,400 people are slated to start work at Alexandria's Mark Center, a $1.4 billion facility located near Interstate 395, on Sept. 15, 2011. The site was selected by Army planners and engineers chiefly out of security concerns and was part of the government's 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission plan.
An environmental dispute stalled plans for an exit ramp at I-395 and the site selection of the Mark Center, which lacks nearby public transit, has prompted a sizable backlash by local officials and residents who say it will overwhelm already-clogged roadways.
"It will be wholly intolerable for that number of people attempt to move (to Alexandria's Mark Center)," U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) told about 200 gathered at the town hall meeting, which was held in the auditorium of Francis C. Hammond Middle School on Seminary Road in Alexandria.
Jennifer Porter, who lives in Alexandria about two miles from the Mark Center, said her neighborhood would become nearly impossible to navigate when the flood of new Defense workers arrive next fall.
"I have difficulty getting out onto Seminary Road now," Porter said. "If I didn't have to earn a living, I guess I could take on the Army myself."
At various points, those in attendance yelled, booed and hissed at several Army representatives, including L. Jerry Hansen, the deputy assistant secretary of the Army. Hansen said plans for shuttle bus service, slug lines, staggered work hours, carpooling and at-home or satellite tele-working will help alleviate traffic.
| September 16, 2010; 9:35 PM ET
Categories: BRAC, Commuting, Congestion, Construction, Driving, Transportation Politics, Virginia
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