Report: Defense funding needed to ease BRAC-related traffic congestion

The Defense Department should provide more support for transportation infrastructure in areas affected by its base consolidation initiative, according to a new report.

In a congressionally mandated study released Monday, the National Research Council's Transportation Research Board found that Defense's 2005 Base Realignment and Closure project is worsening traffic in already congested metropolitan areas. Personnel are moving faster than transportation infrastructure can be developed, and improvements needed to handle the extra demand are costly, the report found.

The board's Committee on Federal Funding of Transportation Improvements in BRAC Cases, which prepared the report, recommended Congress authorize a one-time appropriation of unused stimulus funds for critical transportation projects that would reduce congestion within three years. The committee also called on Defense to take more responsibility for developing roads and transit systems, a role generally left to state and local governments.

Defense Access Roads, the department's only off-base transportation program, is inadequate in congested areas because it requires traffic to double before providing project funding, the report found. In addition, the program does not fund transit services common in urban areas. Defense instead should establish an impact fee to pay for its share of metropolitan road improvements and create a separate program to pay for transit services, according to the committee.

"We're not simply talking about a mile outside Defense," said Joseph Sussman, committee chairman and professor of engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "We're talking about a more regional approach to understanding the congestion impacts that would occur as a result of movements into congested areas. … We're talking on the scale of miles."

Defense also should encourage telework, off-peak travel and carpooling, and offer financial incentives for base commanders who use these tools, the committee suggested.

According to Sussman, the funding required for new projects would vary by area, along with the amount both Defense and local transportation budgets would commit. In each case, a regional survey of the congestion caused by movements into BRAC bases and better communication between military and civilian officials would ameliorate some of the impact, he said.

"We're arguing for an even-handed approach," said Sussman. "DoD won't be funding the whole thing. There will also be local investments. We're not suggesting DoD cover everything but rather a cooperative effort."

Three areas in the National Capital Region are particular causes for concern, the committee found. Fort Belvoir in Virginia already is severely congested and lacks transit services. Environmental concerns and a lack of funding hamper development around the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Finally, Fort Meade in Maryland has limited public transit, and road improvement projects remain unfunded.

All BRAC moves must be completed by Sept. 15.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.