Northern Virginians Worried About Impending BRAC Moves

By David Schultz - WAMU 88.5
|  Saturday, Sep 18, 2010  |  Updated 10:01 AM EDT
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Northern Virginians Worried About Impending BRAC Moves

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Next year, the Army will move thousands of jobs to a site in northern Virginia far away from bus or Metro lines, and local residents are becoming increasingly worried about what this will do to traffic.

More than 200 people attended a town hall meeting here in Alexandria to voice their concerns about the Army's Base Realignment and Closure process.

Terry Kester, who lives in southwest Alexandria near the site where 6,000 new jobs will be located, said traffic in the area is bad now, "and to add cars in any way to this situation is absurd, is an insult to an intelligence and it's also environmentally hazardous."

The Army, meanwhile, is struggling to find solutions.

Dorothy Robyn, with the Defense Secretary's office, said the Army has never had to deal with problems from a community that gained jobs through BRAC.

"Normally, for us, BRAC is dealing with communities that are devastated by having shut down a military installation," she said. "This is the opposite problem."

The town hall was held by Rep. Jim Moran, a vociferous opponent of the BRAC moves. He said the site in Alexandria was chosen because Army officials thought it would cost less than more Metro-accessible alternatives.

"It has subsequently become apparent," Moran said, "that one of the reasons there was a substantial difference in price is that the transportation plan was inadequate."

Moran said the cost of dealing with transportation at the Alexandria site now far exceeds what it would've cost to locate the jobs closer to Metro.

The Army is looking into providing shuttles from the nearest Metro station, but it can't delay the process to move jobs beyond September of next year because BRAC is congressionally mandated.

Listen to the complete story at wamu.org

Copyright 2010 WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio. All Rights Reserved.

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