Today, U.S. Reps. Jim Moran (D-8), Gerry Connolly (D-11) and Democratic Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner sent a letter of concern to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. They're worried that Interstate 395 will be a traffic-choked mess because of inadequate transportation planning at the Mark Center by the Department of Defense.
The Base Realignment and Closure move at the Mark Center property near I-395 and Seminary Road, is home to Washington Headquarters Services, which will receive 5,000 of its 6,400 total relocated employees by this December.
Known as BRAC #133, the project has been viewed with skepticism. "We are concerned that the Department’s occupation plan is not being adequately coordinated with appropriate transportation improvements and mitigation measures," the letter said. "In particular, we were disappointed to learn that the DOD has decided to reduce the number of shuttle routes from Metro to the Mark Center from five to four, in clear contravention of the Department’s July 2010 Final TMP."
The letter asked that DoD provide continual updates on the its Transportation Management Plan and to publish traffic impact figures online for public comment. "With no direct access to a Metro station, the occupancy plan calls for the DOD to fully utilize 3,800 parking spaces available at the Mark Center complex. Multiple studies have found that this will cause unacceptable levels of traffic on local roadways and intersections and for the 200,000 commuters who travel on I-395 each day," the letter said.
The lawmakers also asked the DoD to:
- Provide a list of any changes and their justification that have been made to the July 2010 BRAC #133 Transportation Management Plan
- Present Full briefings to each Congressional Representative's office on efforts the DoD will take to lessen the traffic impact
- Implement mandatory traffic-mitigation measures, like telecommuting and staggered work schedules for WHS employees