The FBI relocation project overseen by the General Services Administration took a major step forward after a House committee approved funding of the plan.
According to a resolution from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, it authorized $834 million toward the project, which cannot exceed $2.1 billion.
President Barack Obama has already allocated $1.4 billion in his budget toward the FBI project, but Congress still hasn’t approved a fiscal 2017 budget. Another $390 million toward the project was approved last fiscal year.
The resolution also includes a recommendation from the National Capital Planning Commission to consider transportation impact “on parking and proximity to Metrorail.”
The GSA plans to make an announcement in March on whether to relocate the FBI headquarters and its 11,000 employees from northwest D.C. Three possible locations — Landover and Greenbelt, Maryland, and Springfield, Virginia — are under consideration.
“This Resolution is a critical milestone and I am confident that Maryland will continue to stand together as we focus on securing the full $1.4 billion needed to fund this project,” Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said in a statement Dec. 7, the same day the House granted the measure. “We are confident that our two sites, in Landover and Greenbelt, are superior by every possible measure to Virginia’s site.”
With the Capital Planning Commission advising to consider public transit as a factor, the 61-acre Greenbelt site rests within walking distance of the Greenbelt Metro station. However, an environmental analysis shows the land only has 4 acres to develop and would require two eight-story parking structures with 3,600 employee spaces. In addition, the main building may rise to 17 stories.
The Landover site at the former Landover Mall sits on 80 acres and has the largest developable land with 16 acres, but shuttle bus service would be recommended with two Metro stations nearby — Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center.
Still, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) praised the committee’s decision.
“I advocated strongly for these provisions, and their inclusion ensures that the resolution is favorable for Maryland,” he said in a statement. “Now that the project is authorized, Congress must turn to the task of appropriating the funding necessary to complete the project.”
Although the Springfield location houses a GSA warehouse and other federal operations and in proximity of the Franconia-Springfield Metro station, it could cost millions of dollars to relocate the FBI on the 58-acre tract.
The GSA should consider “the total costs to the government for relocations, site preparation, and site acquisition,” the resolution states.
Fairfax County officials adopted “recommended strategies and principles” on Dec. 6 for the 115th Congress.
“As the GSA moves forward with its solicitation to find a new location, the county will continue to advocate for its Springfield site, which is the only site under consideration that is already owned by the federal government,” according to the document. “Governor [Terry] McAuliffe and the county’s congressional and general assembly delegations have declared their strong support for the Springfield site, and the County will continue to work with state agencies to further improve the site’s benefits for such a relocation.”