After reading in Wednesday's issue of The Washington Post about WMATA offering the 78 acres of land it owns at the Greenbelt station to promote the relocation of the FBI headquarters, Supervisor Jeff McKay said he was surprised and disappointed.
McKay wrote a letter to the WMATA Board Members Thursday asking them to avoid taking sides and to be fair. According to McKay's letter, the WMATA planning staff said moving the FBI to the Greenbelt station would encourage reverse commuting. To that explanation, McKay said in his letter:
Reverse commuting would be equally, if not better, served at other sites such as Virginia’s Springfield site, adjacent to the Franconia/ Springfield Metro station. That location is Fairfax County’s priority site and it is unanimously supported by our Board. Additionally, that station has a direct Virginia Railway Express line not only to Washington, D.C. but also to Quantico, the site of the FBI training headquarters. WMATA’s planners mention a benefit to the agency by improving the Greenbelt station’s limited Beltway access. That is inferior to the Franconia/Springfield station which is adjacent to both I-495 and I-395 today and has robust bus and vanpool service.
McKay also said in the letter that members of the northern Virginia delegation are united in their support of an FBI location in the region.
“Taxpayers from all our jurisdictions who ultimately foot the bill would be better served if WMATA functioned as an honest broker rather than a cheerleader for a single jurisdiction’s economic development goals,” McKay said in a statement Thursday.
Local, state and congressional leaders met in early January in Arlington to discuss six potential sites for a new FBI headquarters and to present a unified front in their commitment to landing the new federal complex somewhere in Northern Virginia.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, who called the meeting, said leaders from Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties had a "singular focus" in bringing the FBI headquarters to the Old Dominion.
One of the six locations being considered is the Fairfax County's preferred location, a federal warehouse near the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station.
Being a former WMATA board member (2008-2012), McKay said he understands the efforts the board is making to redevelop Metro stations throughout the northern Virginia region.
"I hope that the Greenbelt site, among others will be redeveloped in the future as a transit oriented employment center," said McKay in his letter to the board. "As you know, there are many of our station areas that need that type of positive investment."
McKay is asking WMATA to vote no on amending the Greenbelt Joint Development Agreement under consideration today.
"In doing so," McKay's letter reads, "you will help promote long term jurisdictional cooperation and fairness."
To read Supervisor McKay's letter in full, click on the above PDF.