By Charles S. Clark
Northern Virginia commuters have been bracing themselves for gridlock on I-395 this September when rubber meets the road on executing the highly anticipated BRAC personnel moves -- some 6,400 Defense employees from Arlington County will set up shop in the area around Ft. Belvoir in Fairfax.
On Wednesday, a longtime critic of the Base Realignment and Closing Commission, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., celebrated delivery of a letter to House appropriators from Army transportation planners. It announced that $20 million was being freed up to help build new access ramps and other improvements around the soon-to-open Mark Center at I-395 and Seminary Road. The funding, the officials said, comes from prior-year savings and does not affect construction schedules.
"We welcome this funding, but it's just a start given the major challenges we face," said Moran in a statement.
Moran and local transportation policy critics have long complained about the low priority given to local traffic impact of the 2005 BRAC report signed off on by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In his new memoir, Rumsfeld mentions BRAC only in a footnote, calling it a cost-saver.