Va. Lawmakers Want BRAC Plans Changed

By WAMU
|  Saturday, Feb 5, 2011  |  Updated 9:37 AM EDT
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New Defense Center in Va. Sparks New Traffic Concerns

Montgomery County residents worry about 4,000 additional cars expected to follow Walter Reed

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New Defense Center in Va. Sparks New Traffic Concerns

When the Mark Center, the Defense Department's massive new building along I-395, opens in September, a workforce the size of a small city will commute to it. Some elected leaders are worried about the traffic it will generate.
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In Virginia, Sen. Jim Webb (D) and Rep. Jim Moran (D) received a new briefing Friday on how the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process will affect their regions. The two representatives say they will continue to fight for changes to the plans that call for moving 6,000 Department of Defense employees to the new Mark Center in Alexandria.

Webb and Moran both attended a 1.5-hour briefing on the progress of the Army's BRAC process in the area  - much of it focused on the plans to address transportation challenges at Mark Center.

Outside the new complex, Webb struck the more diplomatic tone, saying that Congress needs to be allowed to make tweaks to the BRAC law to allow for things like gradually phasing in parking at Mark Center to reduce the impact of traffic here.

"You can't just march forward because of a piece of legislation that was passed years ago," Webb says.

Moran was less measured in his comments. He says he saw little in the briefing Friday morning to change his mind about what's in store for local commuters in the fall.

"I really do pray that I'm wrong, and that the Pentagon is right, that this will not be utter chaos in the fall when people start moving," he says.

Moran says the Virginia Department of Transportation's recent concession to build an HOV ramp directly into Mark Center won't be enough to make a difference.

Listen to the complete story at wamu.org

Copyright 2011 WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio. All Rights Reserved.

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