Gov. McDonnell wants DoD to postpone BRAC move

Tuesday - 4/26/2011, 2:19pm EDT

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.) says his state won't have enough time to prepare for the move of 6,400 Defense Department employees to the Mark Center in Alexandria, Va., as part of the Base Realignment and Closure. The deadline for the move is Sept. 1.

The traffic on the exit ramps at Seminary Road is "pretty tough right now," he said in an interview on sister station WTOP's Ask the Governor program.

"It will be significant additional gridlock at that intersection if all these people move and no transportation infrastructure improvements are done," McDonnell said.

The state has $20 million in federal funds and $80 million in state funds toward road improvements, McDonnell said.

But first, an environmental impact report must be completed, which could take at least 18 months, McDonnell said. With the additional time needed for construction, it could take years to prepare for the move, he said.

"That obviously doesn't work with the time frame," McDonnell said.

The governor said he is sending a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates explaining his concerns about BRAC and offering possible solutions, including delaying the move until the infrastructure is in place.

No lawsuit

A report released last week by the Pentagon's inspector general found the Army used flawed data in its 2008 analysis of the BRAC's impact on traffic. The Army report found BRAC would have "no significant impact" on traffic.

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has been outspoken on Federal News Radio in his frustration with BRAC, saying the outcome would be "a disaster." After the IG report's release, he urged state and local officials to take DoD to court to delay the move to the Mark Center until construction is completed and a new traffic management plan laid out.

McDonnell, however, said he is not considering a lawsuit.

"I think lawsuits are always the last resort," McDonnell said.

Prince William County has no plans to sue. Fairfax County is meeting Tuesday to consider a lawsuit.

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