Lawmakers from Virginia pressed a House of Representatives panel Wednesday to forgo a requirement that a potential new
Maryland officials have been working for months to lure the FBI to
But at a hearing of the House subcommittee on economic development and public buildings, lawmakers from Virginia and
"That would arbitrarily prevent sites" in Northern Virginia from competing for the project, said Rep.
The General Services Administration, which acts as the landlord for the federal government, is in the early stages of considering whether to build a new headquarters for the FBI. The GSA received 35 responses this month to a solicitation for interest in the project, but has not discussed details about them.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's current headquarters has been plagued with problems, including a crumbling facade that has threatened pedestrians with falling debris. The FBI has so outgrown its old building that about half of the agency's staff don't fit; they work in 21 satellite offices scattered around the region.
That forces the FBI to spend about $168 million annually for rent. Consolidating the buildings would save $44 million a year, said Kevin L. Perkins, the bureau's associate deputy director.
The GSA is seeking a 45- to 50-acre site that can accommodate 2.1 million square feet of office space and meet the FBI's unusual security requirements.
To move forward, the
Virginia lawmakers are objecting to the second requirement, arguing it could shut out sites in Loudoun and Prince William counties. A Greenbelt site supported by Prince George's County officials would meet the requirements, as would several other potential sites in Virginia.
"We hope that this committee, in drawing its criteria, will frankly be more flexible and more open than maybe the Senate was," said Rep.
A Cardin spokeswoman noted that the requirements in the Senate resolution match assumptions made by GSA in a 2011 feasibility study. "The location of the facility is assumed to be within 2 miles of a Metrorail station and 2.5 miles of the Capital Beltway," the document read.
But on Wednesday, the commissioner of the GSA's Public Buildings Service, Dorothy Robyn, said that language was included for the purposes of valuing property, not as a requirement. The language was also not included in the agency's recent solicitation for interest in the project.
Hoyer cited a report last fall from the
"FBI personnel and their families could benefit from lower daily transportation expenses, Prince George's County's vibrant neighborhoods, and an easier commute," Hoyer said, calling Maryland the "right choice for the new FBI headquarters."
Virginia officials, meanwhile, noted they are home to the
Washington is also vying for the project.