No changes to Belvoir

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Fort Belvoir released its Final Environmental Impact Statement and officials said that, unless ordered otherwise, the 2011 deadline for relocating Department of Defense workers will remain in place.

More than 22,000 employees will be coming to Fort Belvoir and the Engineer Proving Ground near Springfield.

Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman said that the 800-page final environmental statement reads the same as the draft statement released in May.
Belvoirs preferred alternative calls for 14 million square feet of construction to take place at the fort and the proving ground.

According to the document, 30 percent of the employees whose jobs will move already live in the southern part of Fairfax County, and 23 percent live in Prince William County.

The Army has identified $458 million in needed transportation improvements to support the new offices.

The issue was and remains transportation, both to support these new job centers and to let others get around them. Its easy to list needed projects. I still need to see the beef on who and how they will get funded, Kauffman said.

One long-discussed plan to ease congestion the use of the General Services Administration warehouse site   has gained momentum in Congress. The property is a half mile from the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station and could house up to to 9,000 employees.

U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-8th) said he is moving forward with legislation that would require the Army to transfer employees to the property.

The site is Metro-accessible and would literally take thousands of cars off the roads once [the base realignment] is implemented, Moran said. That doesnt get the military off the hook for transportation funding but its part of the solution.

But until Congress officially declares the GSA site Army land, Belvoir officials cannot start planning the specifics how the land would be used.

However, because of a bill that Sen. John Warner (R) got passed, Belvoir planners were required in the environmental statement to break down the possibilities of how the GSA land could be used.

The first alternative would move 3,000 federal employees to the warehouse site, taking four-and-a-half years to implement. Total costs, should the existing buildings be demolished, would be $423 million. About $5 million in transportation improvements would have to be planned.

The two other alternatives, however, would call on the widening and improvement of nearly every major roadway in the area surrounding the Franconia Springfield Parkway.

To move 5,000 employees to the site would cost an estimated $818 million and would take five-and-a-half years to implement.

To put 9,000 employees at the GSA site would cost $1.19 billion and would take six-and-a-half years.

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