Defense relocation still needs $406 million
UPDATE: The research-oriented National Academy of Sciences are evaluating the Pentagon's road-funding responsibilities and resources as a result of federal legislation regarding BRAC for a report in January and Kevin Hall, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), said officials are working to procure additional earmarks for the required Northern Virginia transportation projects.
Virginia officials say they still need about $406 million to build all of the ramps, access routes and road improvements to handle the flood of new defense workers moving to sites along Interstate 95 in the next year, officials said Tuesday at a transportation meeting in Fairfax County.
About 20,000 defense workers are expected to relocate to the I-95 corridor in Northern Virginia by fall 2011 (map). The deadline is mandated by the 2005 federal base realignment and closings plan (BRAC).
The job shifts stem from worries after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks about the clustering of government operations near the Pentagon and Reagan National Airport. But the changes are expected to create at least two new traffic issues along the I-95 corridor, near Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County and near Seminary Road in Alexandria, along with backups at a number of arterial road connection points.
The Post's three-part Top-Secret America series made reference to one of the new buildings coming to the Fort Belvoir area: the $1.8 billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency headquarters in Springfield, which with 8,500 employees is slated to become the fourth-largest federal building in the region.
One senior military intelligence officer told The Post's Dana Priest and William M. Arkin that these types of buildings were "on the order of the pyramids."
They also are sources of financial stress for many Northern Virginia officials.
About $357 million in funding has come from a mixture of congressional earmarks, Virginia's Commonwealth Transportation Board and state and local bonds. The extension of the Fairfax County Parkway; the lane widening of Interstate 95; direct access ramps at I-95 and the Parkway; and the southbound off-ramp and the HOV ramp at I-95 are fully funded.
Tom Fahrney, the base realignment coordinator for the Virginia Department of Transportation, said that still unfunded are the I-95 and parkway interchange project; the widening of the parkway east of I-95; spot intersection and road improvements to Beulah, Backlick, Loisdale and Newington; the widening of U.S. Route 1; and direct access improvements at I-395 into Alexandria's Mark Center. The cost of those yet-to-be-funded projects: $406 million. The relocation deadline: noon, Sept. 15, 2011.
U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) is pushing a proposal that would cap at 1,000 the number of cars allowed to park at the Mark Center. That would either delay the transfers or force the military to put in place plans to limit traffic by the deadline date. The Mark Center will be the new headquarters for the military's Washington operations.
The House approved Moran's plan, The Post's Miranda S. Spivack noted in May, and the House and Senate will iron out the difference between both of their defense spending bills later this summer.
July 20, 2010; 12:19 PM ET
Categories: Derek Kravitz , Fairfax County , Fairfax County Board of Supervisors , James P. Moran Jr. | Tags: BRAC, Congress, Fairfax County, Jim Moran, transportation
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