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The War Between the States Over FBI Headquarters

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“With the near passage of the federal budget, we are reminded that we must always be looking for larger savings for taxpayers,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.,  said. “With the near passage of the federal budget, we are reminded that we must always be looking for larger savings for taxpayers,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said. Harry Hamburg/AP file photo

The northern Virginia delegation to Congress, along with a supporting cast from state government in Richmond, assembled in suburban Springfield on Tuesday for a dog-and-pony show designed to lure the FBI’s new headquarters to the Old Dominion.

The press event took place as the General Services Administration was weighing competing proposals from parties in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia for sites suitable for building a modern FBI campus to replace the near-40-year-old hulk on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest called the J. Edgar Hoover Building.

“With the near passage of the federal budget, we are reminded that we must always be looking for larger savings for taxpayers,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., told the crowd at a Northern Virginia Community College Medical College building. “This Springfield site saves $75 million in already existing secure fiber for FBI communication needs.”

Joined by Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, Democratic Reps. Jim Moran and Gerry Connolly, Republican Rep. Frank Wolf and Virginia Gov.-Elect Terry McAuliffe, Warner called the Virginia site home to a majority of FBI agents in the metro area and touted its access to multiple transportation options -- highway express lanes, Metro rail, and a VRE rail station.

Not to be outdone, the Maryland delegation issued a statement arguing for a proposal submitted to GSA on Tuesday to move the FBI to Greenbelt in Prince George’s County, citing a state report showing that 43 percent of FBI employees currently live in Maryland.

“We stand firmly behind Prince George’s County as the right choice for the new headquarters of the FBI and support County executive [Rushern] Baker’s proposal for the Greenbelt site,” said a statement signed by Democratic Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, along with Reps. Steny Hoyer and Donna Edwards. “Prince George’s County has the ability to donate, at no cost to the federal government, the proposed location that meets the size requirements and is located directly adjacent to a Metro station.”

The group – calling itself “Team Maryland” – added: “An honest analysis of the cost of operations, security, convenience of location for staff, transportation options, and the promotion of regional equity in federal facility distribution should make the proposed Greenbelt, Md., site the choice location for FBI. This project would bring thousands of jobs to the county, boost our local economy and generate additional revenues for our community.”

The District of Columbia Council back in March had offered a site at Poplar Point on the Anacostia River for the FBI, but on Dec.4, Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins wrote to GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini saying the current criteria render the District “effectively ineligible.”

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

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