Calls for FBI Relocation to Maryland Intensify
Joshua Garner | 3/25/2014, midnight | Updated on 3/26/2014, 3 p.m.
A campaign by Maryland officials to draw the FBI headquarters from Washington, D.C. to a site in Prince George's County struck a high note this week during a rally that drummed up support for the bureau to make the move.
Leaders gathered at the University of Maryland, College Park Monday to pledge their support in terms of attracting the FBI headquarters at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Northwest to a site near the Greenbelt Metro Station. Backed by a crowd of community members, business leaders, and elected officials waving "We're All In" signs a consortium of federal, state, and local leaders made their case for the FBI moving to the edge of the Capital Beltway.
"With proximity to multiple transit options, federal assets like [the U.S.] Cyber Command and research institutions like the University of Maryland, Greenbelt offers a phenomenal strategic advantage for the FBI consolidated headquarters," Gov. Martin O'Malley said during the event on March 24. "Our commitment to strengthening and growing the middle class has never been stronger. We'll continue working with our partners in Prince George's County and in Congress to bring this federal asset to Maryland — there's no better place in the United States."
The General Services Administration (GSA), which governs administrative affairs for the federal government, is expected to announce a decision on the relocation by May, county officials said. If the FBI were to come to Prince George's County, it would be an economic windfall for the state, generating an estimated $180 million in annual tax revenues and adding 11,000 employees to the county.
During the rally, officials stressed the need for greater equity in the allotment of federal office space. While 25 percent of the region's federal workforce lives in Prince George's County, less than 4 percent of federal office space in the region is leased within the county. The county has more metro stations that any jurisdiction in the region and the largest inventory of land that can be developed.
"That's not fair," said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Dist. 5) of Mechanicsville. "We believe the federal government needs to share the [leased] spaced in the [Washington, D.C. region]."
Though Prince George's County is already home to the U.S. Census Bureau and Joint Base Andrews, it's failed to attract the kind of large scale leaser that would become an economic boon. Hoyer said that officials realize that competition for the FBI is fierce and Northern Virginia is a strong competitor for the bureau.
But a large plot of land near a metro station and two major highways would be beneficial to the FBI, said U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D). She complained that the J. Edgar Hoover Building is dilapidated, in need of repair, and doesn't have enough space to hold the bureau's workforce.
"[The] FBI needs a fully consolidated central headquarters that will allow it to fulfill it modern mission, with facilities that are safe, secure, and suited to its needs," Mikulski said. "When you consider the cost of operations, security needs, convenience of location for staff, and transportation options – the right choice is Prince George's County."