Mark Center Earns $20M from Pentagon for Road Improvements
For the second time this week, northern Virginia officials have received good news about the availability of federal funds to pay for critical off-installation transportation projects needed to address BRAC growth.
After learning that the compromise over the fiscal 2011 budget includes up to $300 million to help accommodate the realignment of Walter Reed Army Medical Center to Bethesda and Fort Belvoir, officials found out Wednesday that the Army is reallocating $20 million to support the move of 6,400 workers to the Mark Center in Alexandria, Va.
“Because the Army failed to anticipate, and thus budget for the impact of moving 6,400 people to the intersection of I-395 and Seminary Road, it has become necessary for additional funds to be made available to prevent gridlock at the Mark Center,” said Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.).
The funds will be used for short and mid-term improvements at the Mark Center site, including ramp modifications, intersection improvements and a pedestrian bridge. The Army is using savings from BRAC 2005 projects completed previously to pay for the new work, according to a letter the Army sent to the House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee.
Existing roadways around the Mark Center will not be able to handle the influx of traffic expected after the BRAC move, the Army said in justifying the projects. “Unmitigated traffic congestion will impede access to the facility and negatively affect employee productivity,” the letter stated.
Moran called on the Pentagon to delay moving the personnel to the Mark Center past the Sept. 15 BRAC implementation deadline until all transportation upgrades are in place. Read the Washington Post story.