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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

Virginia Lawmaker Calls for Legal Steps, After IG’s Report on Mark Center

  • April 21, 2011
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Following “damning evidence” from DOD’s inspector general that the Army used faulty data to justify its plan to move thousands of defense workers to a site in Alexandria, Va., Rep. Jim Moran (D) is encouraging the city of Alexandria, surrounding counties and the commonwealth of Virginia to take legal action to delay the transfer.

“I think we finally have the credible foundation for a legal challenge to this pending fiasco. It’s one of the only remaining options, but it’s a powerful one,” Moran said Thursday. The congressman is urging local officials, along with civic groups, businesses and residents, to seek an injunction in federal court that would give the Army more time “to prevent a looming traffic nightmare” on northern Virginia roads providing access to the Mark Center.

Moran’s goal is to delay the BRAC move past the Sept. 15 deadline. Local officials have not yet said whether they intend to file a suit. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) spoke with Moran Thursday, however, and plans to meet with his secretary of transportation, according to the lawmaker’s spokeswoman. Alexandria officials are expected to meet next week, she added.

The Pentagon’s inspector general (IG) looked at two studies used to substantiate the relocation of 6,400 employees from Metro-accessible office buildings in Arlington, Va., to the Mark Center — an environmental assessment and a transportation management plan.

The report found that the Army’s proposed traffic mitigations in the environmental assessment “may not be sufficient” to support the “finding of no significant impact” on surrounding roadways. The Army only considered traffic impacts within a 0.3-mile radius around the Mark Center, underestimating the move’s true impact on I-395, according to the IG. The Army also did not sufficiently address several critical demand management strategies.

The IG recommended the Army complete a new assessment of the transportation effects, including a traffic impact analysis and monitoring program. The Army said it would not perform any new traffic analyses, according to the inspector general.

The IG also recommended the Army update the existing transportation management plan and conduct a more technically robust, standalone traffic impact analysis. The Army agreed to revise the transportation management plan, but said it would not conduct a standalone traffic impact analysis.

For more details, read the Washington Post story.

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