SEABROOK – The county will have to remain in the dark a little longer over whether it will be the new home for the FBI.
On Friday, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced it would not announce the site or developer chosen as its preferred option to develop the new consolidated headquarters for the FBI until Congress fully funds the project.
“GSA and FBI have worked diligently since the fall issuance of the revised schedule. We have met the milestones at this point. Appropriations are necessary in order for us to make an announcement and move forward,” a GSA spokeswoman said.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the headquarters – which would name the GSA and FBI’s preferred site and developer – was expected this month. Two of the shortlist sites are in Prince George’s County, Greenbelt and Landover, and the agencies had been holding community meetings to explain traffic improvements that would be needed in either location, as well as the third option in Springfield, Va.
Currently, the U.S. Congress has not passed any of the 11 appropriations bills submitted last year by then-President Barack Obama. That budget proposal included full funding for the FBI project.
U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, along with Rep. Anthony Brown and Maryland’s two senators, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, said in a statement they were disappointed the GSA’s announcement did not include a site selection.
“We recognize the urgent need to select a site, and are concerned that the continued delays will have a negative impact on the safety and security of our nation,” the statement said. “Prince George’s County is the best choice for the FBI, and we call on Congress to fully fund the FBI relocation project, which is not only important for the economic development of Prince George’s County, but for the state of Maryland, and our nation as a whole.”
County Executive Rushern Baker, III, in an op-ed published in The Washington Post, also said the Prince George’s sites are superior to Virginia because of the time and cost savings, as well as what he views as the currently unequal distribution of federal workers to jobs in the county.
“Prince George's County is home to less than 4 percent of the region’s federal office leasing space. We have more than 75,000 federal workers and only 25,000 federal jobs. One has to look no further than rush-hour traffic reports to see it is our residents who are disproportionately forced to endure Beltway congestion,” Baker wrote.
“It is imperative to the security of our nation that this decision is made now and the FBI is provided with a modern consolidated headquarters facility as quickly as possible to provide the best defense against criminals, terrorists, and foreign and domestic threats,” he added.