Moran: BRAC Mark Center move must be delayed

Monday - 11/22/2010, 10:08am EST

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va)

Click below to hear the interview

Download mp3

By Vyomika Jairam
Federal News Radio

The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plan that would move 6,400 Defense Department employees to Alexandria's Mark Center is facing another challenge. The Defense Department's Inspector General is looking into traffic problems and environmental issues that could be created by the move, which is mandated by the Base Realignment and Closure process.

Virginia Congressman Jim Moran told Federal News Radio that he's already added language to the Defense Authorization Bill to delay the move. He introduced two provisions:

  • capping parking spaces at the new facility at 1,000
  • language requiring that the Inspector General look into the process that allowed the Pentagon to move the new facility without any transportation infrastructure improvements
The added language passed in the House and is awaiting Senate consideration.

In the meantime, Moran said, the Inspector General decided independently to look into the BRAC decision-making process. The Pentagon, Moran said, avoided doing a complete environmental impact analysis.

"What they did was kind of a quick and dirty assessment, and they produced results that I think the Inspector General would agree, were questionable. At least worthy of looking further into it," Moran said.

The initial study estimated that only 75 percent of the staff assigned there would be on-site on an average day, even though, Moran said currently 90 percent of the staff report to their work sites everyday. Operating on the 75 percent figure, the study had relatively simple and few suggestions for alleviating traffic, such as changing the timing of traffic lights, and adding additional turning lanes.

"The conclusions that they reached, we feel were based upon faulty assumptions, that's what the Inspector General is going to look into," Moran said. "They're also going to look into why the Pentagon felt it was not necessary to do a complete analysis that would have required public hearings and the sort."

In fact, if the recommendations made so far are applied, the study said that the move would have no significant transportation impact on travel on the region.

"That's flawed, that just can't be, and when the Inspector General completes its objective report, we think that we may be able to delay and possibly even stop this move until there is adequate infrastructure in place," Moran said.

Moran said that he and former Congressman Tom Davis voted against the move when it was first introduced.

"It didn't make a whole lot of sense to move people out of commercial office buildings with access to public transport to military bases located in already congested areas with no public transport facilities," Moran said. "Even though it's the eleventh hour, adjustments needs to be made."