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A train at the McLean Metro station platform (file photo)

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is asking the county’s General Assembly delegation to oppose Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed funding cuts to Metro in the state’s budget.

During a board meeting on Tuesday (April 16), supervisors unanimously approved a letter written by Chairman Jeff McKay, Braddock District Supervisor James Walkinshaw, and Dranesville District Supervisor James Bierman, asking the delegation to oppose the cuts and retain the funding needed to address the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) estimated $750 million shortfall.

The General Assembly passed the FY 2024-2026 biennium budget in March which included $149.5 million from the state to address WMATA’s funding shortage in FY 2025 and FY 2026, according to the letter.

“This funding, which is expected to be matched by the local funding partners, including Fairfax County, is essential to putting WMATA on sound financial footing and retaining its consistent operations.”

A month later, Youngkin announced his proposed budget amendments, which included cutting $113.8 million of WMATA’s funding. Instead, Youngkin urged localities to use funds previously allocated to them through state assistance.

However, the county clarified in its letter that this money — provided to the region through the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) by the Northam Administration in 2022 — was used to cover immediate Metro payments following the pandemic and to reserve the remainder for “ongoing needs.”

Even with the additional funding, the letter says the county expects the money from the NVTC to be largely depleted soon, making their request even more vital.

“We know WMATA is absolutely essential to our regional economy,” McKay said during Tuesday’s County Board meeting. “It is essential to Virginia’s economy, bringing in over $1 billion a year into the general fund.”

He also noted how the lack of funding could impact taxpayers.

“If this money doesn’t come from the state, where will it come from? From the real estate taxpayers of Fairfax County. That’s where it will come from,” McKay said.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity said he was reluctantly supporting the request, saying Metro needed to “figure out how they’re going to get their costs under control.”

“We’ve got to get the long-term answer figured out because, you know, punting it down the road with a couple more years of ridiculous funding increases is not necessarily the best answer,” Herrity said.

Citing a 2017 study by former U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Walkinshaw noted that Metro would need $500 million a year in dedicated funding to achieve stable financial footing, a burden that would ultimately fall on resident taxpayers.

“This idea that there are hundreds of millions of dollars or billions of dollars of cost savings to be found at Metro is a fantasy,” he said. “The amount needed in dedicated funding to prevent us from having to go back to property taxpayers every single year is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. That’s just math.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin at the groundbreaking for the I-495 Express Lanes extension in 2022 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

A bill to raise Virginia’s minimum wage got the ax in Richmond despite the support of three Fairfax County state senators.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) vetoed legislation on March 28 that would’ve increased the minimum wage from $12 to $15 an hour by 2026. Sens. Jennifer Boysko, Saddam Salim and Adam Ebbin, who all represent parts of Fairfax County, were among several Democrats to sponsor the bill.

The governor also struck down a bill sponsored by Ebbin (D-30) that would have legalized the sale of recreational marijuana in Virginia.

Ebbin said he was “disappointed but not surprised” by the decisions and sees no reason to believe Youngkin will change his mind in future years.

“We need a Democratic governor to sign these bills,” the senator said.

The minimum wage bill would’ve boosted the rate to $13.50 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2025 before reaching the full $15 in 2026. Youngkin argued that his veto protects small businesses in parts of Virginia outside of the D.C. suburbs.

“The free market for salaries and wages works,” the governor said. “It operates dynamically, responding to the nuances of varying economic conditions and regional differences. This wage mandate imperils market freedom and economic competitiveness.”

A minimum wage increase “may not impact Northern Virginia, where economic conditions create a higher cost of living,” Youngkin added.

Salim (D-37), whose district includes Tysons, Vienna and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, disputed Youngkin’s claims, calling the veto “deeply disappointing and detrimental to the well-being of workers and struggling families across Virginia.”

“Our current minimum wage is not a living wage, particularly here in Northern Virginia,” he said. “I believe that every worker deserves a living wage. By rejecting this bill, the governor is essentially endorsing policies that grow economic inequality and hardship.”

Democrats in the Virginia Senate will continue to fight for a minimum wage increase next legislative session, Salim said.

Boysko (D-38), who represents Reston, Herndon, Great Falls and McLean, argued that the current minimum wage is part of a “cruel system” that forces many people to “scrounge for benefits” from the state and nonprofits, contributing to Virginia’s workforce shortage.

“Many businesses are not paying a living wage,” Boysko said. “If employers cannot figure out how they would live on what they pay their employees, we have an economic problem and a moral problem.”

For the marijuana bill veto, Youngkin pointed to adverse health effects associated with the substance. He argued that even medical cannabis has had “perverse and dangerous consequences” akin to opioids.

“Attempting to rectify the error of decriminalizing marijuana by establishing a safe and regulated marketplace is an unachievable goal,” he said. “The more prudent approach would be to revisit the issue of discrepancies in enforcement, not compounding the risks and endangering Virginians’ health and safety with greater market availability.”

Virginia became the first Southern state to legalize marijuana possession in 2021 after then-governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, signed a bill intended to set the stage for recreational sales to adults starting in 2024. Proponents characterized the move as a necessary corrective to address racial disparities in the enforcement of marijuana crimes.

Ebbin, whose district includes Bailey’s Crossroads and Seven Corners, argued that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and that preventing its legal sale only encourages people to turn to illegal sources.

“It’s an adult choice that some adults make, and we don’t need a black market,” he said.

English ivy, an invasive plant, seen at McLean Central Park (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

In the latest round of action on bills, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed 100 bills passed by the Virginia General Assembly, including one to protect Virginians from unlawful discrimination, hate crimes and antisemitism. The governor vetoed four others, including one to create civil penalties for shop owners who fail to advertise they are selling invasive plants that could harm other species.

Among the 100 bills signed is a measure that will codify a recommendation by the Commission to Combat Antisemitism that Virginia revise its laws to better protect Jewish citizens from hate crimes, along with Muslims, Sikhs and other ethnic-religious groups.

Youngkin said the legislation aligns with one of his top priorities: combating antisemitism.

“As the first state to weave religious freedom into the fabric of our nation, Virginia is leading once again and sending a clear message that Virginians should not be the victim of a crime simply because of their religion, race, or ethnicity,” the governor said in an April 2 press release.

Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, and Del. Dan Helmer, D-Fairfax, carried the legislation, Senate Bill 7 and House Bill 18.

“I’m thankful for the governor’s signature and the bipartisan co-patrons of this important bill,” said Reeves in a statement. He added that legislation outlawing antisemitism isn’t just about protecting a particular group, but about “defending the fundamental values of equality, justice, and human dignity for all.”

Helmer, a descendant of Holocaust survivors and a Jewish man whose children “confronted antisemitism” in school, Helmer said the legislation is important to him.

“Hate has no place in our communities,” Helmer said in a statement, adding that he is grateful for the governor’s signature to “protect people of every ethnicity across the commonwealth.”

Other interesting pieces of legislation the governor signed into law include House Bill 143, which directs the Virginia Department of Transportation to create a publicly-accessible utility work database and map that details projects within state-maintained areas, excluding emergency maintenance and services to private properties. Another measure, House Bill 322, will create a Cosmetology Compact, which will allow people to be licensed to provide barbering, hair styling and other cosmetic services in Virginia and other states that join the compact initiative.

Vetoed legislation

The governor also vetoed four bills that would have required the state to adopt model public education policies on climate change and environmental literacy, permitted college instructors to request non confidential garnishment data for research purposes, and created penalties for shop owners who fail to identify invasive plants they sell.

In explaining why he rejected the bill on adopting model policies for climate change, the governor said the measure is already included in the Standards of Learning for students, and the proposal “imposes a significant and redundant task” on the Department of Education and the Board of Education. Read More

A rendering of Monumental’s proposed sports arena in Alexandria’s Potomac Yard (courtesy JBG Smith)

The deal to bring the Washington Capitals and Wizards to Alexandria’s Potomac Yard is officially dead, and the developer says suggestions that an arena could be built in Tysons instead were the final nail in the coffin.

Alexandria City officials revealed yesterday (Wednesday) that they had ended negotiations with developer JBG Smith, Wizards and Capitals owner Monumental Sports & Entertainment, and other stakeholders for a stadium in the proposed Potomac Yard Entertainment District. About an hour later, Monumental owner Ted Leonsis and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the two professional sports teams will stay at Capital One Arena in Chinatown after all.

After joining Leonsis and city leaders in December to tout the Wizards and Capitals’ planned move across the Potomac River, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin lamented that “personal and political agendas” at the state level torpedoed a significant economic opportunity, while the city expressed disappointment in how discussions between Youngkin and the General Assembly unfolded.

However, JBG Smith CEO Matt Kelly pointed to a different culprit, claiming that “special interests” seeking to combine a sports arena with a casino in Tysons had “complicated and ultimately blocked” the Potomac Yard negotiations.

Despite our best efforts, this project was unable to get a fair hearing on its merits with the Virginia Senate. It is now clear that our efforts may have been complicated and ultimately blocked, in part, by special interests seeking to move the Monumental arena to Tysons Corner and to combine it with a casino. The Washington Post and other outlets have reported on this scheme and the hundreds of thousands of dollars, enormous sums in Virginia politics, of political contributions associated with it — a large portion of which were directed to key senate leaders. When one follows the money, the implications are deeply troubling for Virginia and for the future of transparency in economic development pursuits, especially those that seek certainty through the now damaged MEI legislative process.

The Washington Post reported on Sunday (March 24) that Senate Majority Leader Scott Surovell (D-34), hopeful Fairfax County casino developer Comstock CEO Christopher Clemente and political consultant Ben Tribbett, who counts both Surovell and Comstock as clients, had raised the idea of moving the Wizards and Capitals to Tysons instead of Alexandria with Monumental executives.

According to the Post, Leonsis and the other Monumental executives quickly rejected the proposal, which also didn’t appeal to Youngkin.

State Sen. Dave Marsden (D-37), who patroned the ultimately postponed bill to make Fairfax County — specifically a site in Tysons along Metro’s Silver Line — eligible for a casino, says he was never involved in “any serious talk” about combining the casino with a Monumental arena. The idea was “casually talked about” during the General Assembly’s session, which ended on March 9, but he never viewed it as a legitimate possibility.

“I think that was a last-minute thing people threw out there,” he told FFXnow. Read More

Virginia First Lady Suzanne Youngkin presents the Spirit of Virginia award to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association (official photo by Shealah Craighead)

The nonprofit responsible for historic preservation at Mount Vernon collected a state-level honor last week.

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association received the first of six 2024 Spirit of Virginia awards from Gov. Glenn Youngkin and First Lady Suzanne Youngkin on Friday (March 15).

“It is fitting that during Women’s History Month we celebrate the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association’s centuries-old commitment to preserving one of our Commonwealth’s most historic homes,” Suzanne Youngkin said in a press release.

The Spirit of Virginia awards recognize people and organizations nominated by the governor’s cabinet secretaries and then selected by the first lady and governor. The criteria, per the first lady’s website, requires that honorees be service-oriented, pioneering, innovative and industrious, reinvigorating, imaginative, and transformative (in other words, have “spirit”).

The MVLA, which has owned the Mount Vernon estate since 1858, is a privately-funded organization that preserves, maintains and restores George Washington’s mansion, along with the surrounding grounds.

“We are honored to be the first recipient of the 2024 Spirit of Virginia Award,” Margaret Hartman Nichols, 23rd regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, said in the press release. “The Association’s legacy of stewardship began with our trailblazing founder, Ann Pamela Cunningham, and has continued for the last 166 years uninterrupted. It is fitting that the home of the man who was first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen was rescued by the women who were first in preservation.”

The MVLA isn’t the first local organization to get this recognition from the governor’s mansion.

Last year, Fairfax City’s Cameron’s Coffee & Chocolates (9639 Fairfax Blvd) made the list for its work with young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One of 2022’s awards went to Vienna’s Jill’s House (9011 Leesburg Pike), a Christian non-profit that offers one-to-two day overnight respite care to kids, teens and young adults with intellectual disabilities.

A 25 mph speed limit sign on a residential road in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

The Virginia General Assembly passed a measure three years ago allowing local governments to decrease roadway speed limits in their localities to as low as 15 mph. But recently, lawmakers found that the Virginia Department of Transportation denied seven of eight speed limit decrease requests, because, by state law, only the Commissioner of Highways can authorize changes on state-maintained roads.

Earlier this month, legislation advanced that would expand a locality’s speed-reducing authority to roadways within a business or residence district, including state-owned highways.

The number of requests represent a small fraction of the local governments in Virginia, including the 190 towns and 39 independent cities in the commonwealth, according to data from the U.S. Census. For the localities that are seeking to reduce speeding, though, the limits of the 2021 legislation are a challenge.

“Everybody can concede that there’s an issue here, but we have very little authority to do anything about it,” said Mayor Roger Vance, who represents the Town of Hillsboro, which was denied their request to lower the local speed limit to 20 mph last year.

The 2021 legislation did not extend localities’ speed reducing power to state-owned highways, which typically run through some towns like Middleburg and Hillsboro.

As proposed, the new bill would require local governments to conduct engineering and traffic studies as part of any effort to change the speed limit, post “lawfully placed” signs showing the reduced speed limit and notify the commissioner of the change.

The bill nearly failed in the Senate in February after Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle Sears split a tie vote, but it was reconsidered successfully and sent to Gov. Glenn Youngkin for approval.

Del. Betsy Carr, D-Richmond, the legislation’s sponsor, said she is working with the governor’s administration to ensure Youngkin signs her bill into law, but it could require an amendment.

Representatives from the Virginia Municipal League and Virginia Association of Counties, representing local governments in the commonwealth, said their members supported this bill.

“We firmly believe that this enhanced authority serves as an invaluable addition to our existing toolkit for implementing crucial safety measures,” said James Hutzler, government relations associate for VACO, in a statement. “With this legislation in place, counties will be empowered to take proactive steps towards safeguarding the well-being of our communities.” Read More

Cannabis plant (via Rick Proctor on Unsplash)

Hopes that Gov. Glenn Youngkin might sign a bill legalizing retail sales of marijuana in Virginia faded fast this week as Democrats blocked one of the governor’s top priorities: the plan to bring a professional sports arena to Northern Virginia.

As recently as Wednesday, according to multiple Capitol sources, the cannabis bill was being raised in closed-door budget talks with the governor as one of several Democratic priorities that could conceivably have been part of a package deal with the arena.

But the prospects of a grand policy bargain appeared to collapse Thursday as Democrats revealed a budget proposal without Youngkin’s arena plan, prompting the governor to say he was less inclined to look favorably on Democratic priorities. In a news conference (link added by FFXnow) on the Capitol steps, Youngkin said the arena deal Senate Democrats rejected involved up to 30,000 jobs and $12 billion in economic impact.

“And, bluntly, you want to talk about putting a cannabis shop on every corner?” Youngkin said. “I don’t quite get it.”

The governor said several other topics had been part of an “overall discussion” with Democrats. However, he suggested the rejection of an economic development project that could’ve drawn bipartisan support isn’t going to make him more likely to approve bills that passed mostly along party lines.

“I think this really sets us meaningfully back,” Youngkin said.

Del. Paul Krizek, D-Alexandria, a key sponsor of the marijuana proposal, said hopes for the bill were not high.

“As those great philosophers Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin would say, ‘It’s up in smoke,’” Krizek said.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, pointed to Youngkin’s comments on cannabis as evidence that it’s the governor who’s refusing to budge on issues that have popular support.

“He just basically flat out said one of our biggest priorities he’s not willing to consider,” Surovell said. “This governor wants to set the terms of every single negotiation as if he’s the sole arbiter of what’s reasonable in a bipartisan environment. That’s just not how it works. … If he wants something, he’s got to give us something.”

Youngkin can’t veto the marijuana bill immediately, because it technically hasn’t been sent to him yet. After this week’s developments, it may only be a matter of time. Youngkin said again Thursday that he doesn’t have “any interest” in greenlighting a retail marijuana market during his four-year term.

He has just under two years remaining, and if Democrats retake the Executive Mansion in 2025, the bill sent to Youngkin this year could potentially be the starting point for future legislative efforts. Read More

The new Virginia General Assembly Building in Richmond (via Virginia House of Delegates/Flickr)

At the halfway point of his administration, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin unveiled a budget proposal that calls for significant income tax cuts, increases in state sales and use tax — and a push to get rid of the car tax, which the Republican called “the single most hated tax” in Virginia.

“The car tax belongs in the trash can and not in your mailbox,” he said.

Speaking to the state’s joint money committees Wednesday morning, Youngkin reiterated his familiar themes that Virginia must take action to reverse ongoing population losses to other states and reduce residents’ tax burdens.

“Across the country today, there are winning states and there are losing states,” he said. “Virginia must compete even harder.”

But the governor’s speech took a less political tone than earlier addresses to the state’s legislative budget architects, offering fewer criticisms of prior administrations and acknowledging that Virginia government remains divided after Democrats narrowly won control of both chambers of the legislature this November. That outcome dampened Youngkin’s prospects for a presidential run and will force him to work across the aisle to achieve his key priorities.

Because Virginia operates on a two-year budget that is amended annually, the “Unleashing Opportunity” budget presented by Youngkin Wednesday represents the governor’s first crack at crafting a state spending plan from whole cloth. The last two-year budget, which was passed in 2022, was based on a plan from outgoing Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

With power divided between Democrats and Republicans in Richmond and historic state surpluses fueled by pandemic-era relief spending, the past few years have seen unusual levels of contention over the state budget. Amendments to the spending plan, ordinarily passed at the time the General Assembly adjourns in late February or early March, took until September this year to come to fruition as the parties bickered.

“I would ask us to deliver a budget on time when you adjourn sine die in March,” Youngkin told the money committees on Wednesday, referring to the final adjournment of the legislative session. “Virginians deserve it, and I know we can do it.”

This year, lawmakers will have less money at their disposal, with pandemic-era infusions of cash at an end and state economic officials projecting a mild recession beginning in the last quarter of fiscal year 2024.

The “overwhelming consensus” of state leaders, said Youngkin, was that in developing the budget, “we should build in caution.”

Democrats have already signaled concerns with the governor’s spending plan — and some surprise.

“I heard the governor say this was halftime. And he came back out as a Democrat, a lot of tax increases,” wisecracked incoming House Speaker Don Scott, D-Portsmouth, in an exchange with Virginia Secretary of Finance Stephen Cummings.

Senate Democrats on Wednesday afternoon issued a statement calling the governor’s budget “absolutely disgraceful” and “a slap in the face of our most vulnerable individuals.”

“We are smart enough and bold enough to know that his speech was the highlight reel and that he omitted the dirty details of his plan,” the caucus wrote. “Governor Youngkin believes that ensuring more tax cuts for wealthier individuals is most beneficial for low income individuals in our commonwealth.”

The proposal put forward by the governor Wednesday marks only the beginning of the state’s budget season. When the General Assembly convenes Jan. 10, both chambers will have a chance to modify Youngkin’s budget, removing parts they don’t like and accepting or strengthening those they do. The House and Senate will then need to reconcile their two versions of the plan — a process that historically has occurred behind closed doors through the legislature’s opaque conference committee system — and send it to the governor for his review.

“While we appreciate Governor Youngkin for sharing his budgetary vision today, it is imperative that we have a thorough examination of his proposal,” said Del. Luke Torian, D-Prince William, the incoming chair of the House Appropriations Committee. “This is the starting point to construct a budget that not only reflects our dedication, but also secures prosperity and fairness for every resident in the commonwealth.”

Here’s some of what Youngkin is proposing at the starting line. Read More

Gov. Glenn Youngkin announces a “Building Blocks for Virginia Families” plan to increase funding for early childhood education (Official Photo by Christian Martinez, Office of Governor Glenn Youngkin)

With the last pandemic-era expansions of federal child care aid to states set to end next year, Gov. Glenn Youngkin is proposing to put $448 million into the commonwealth’s early learning and child care system in each of the next two years.

“The reality is that in March 2024, without significant reforms to improve this long-term viability of our child care programs, we would otherwise see children simply being kicked out of these most important collaborations that enable families to realize their dreams and so we can’t leave families, parents and their children without options,” said Youngkin at a press conference for his “Building Blocks for Virginia Families” initiative Thursday.

The funding will be part of Youngkin’s proposal for the state budget over the next two years, which he is scheduled to present to lawmakers Dec. 20. The General Assembly, which Democrats will narrowly control when the session begins this January, will use that proposal as the jumping-off point for their own spending plan.

While the administration has not yet provided a detailed breakdown of how all of the $448 million would be spent, a document provided to reporters includes a list of priorities. They include the desire to “ensure every low-income working family that currently receives public support continues to have access to early childhood and afterschool programs,” “accelerate parent choice, from home-care providers and public school preschools to community co-ops and private day centers,” and require all early childhood programs to “annually measure and report unmet parental demand and preference.”

A few priorities have dollar figures attached: The proposed investment includes $25 million to develop public-private partnerships in areas with child care shortages, $10 million in educator incentives and $1 million to launch early learning and child care accounts on a digital wallet platform for families with children under five. Families can use the wallets to accept funds from such groups as employers, local governments and family members.

Additionally, the plan calls for streamlining teacher licensure requirements and “rightsizing” student-teacher ratios.

“This is about an opportunity for success,” Youngkin said, “and it starts with success for families.”

Kathy Glazer, president of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, called the proposal “a remarkable commitment to Virginia’s children and families.”

“By sustaining access to quality, affordable early childhood care and education services, these investments will help unlock the potential of all children and keep Virginia on the path to economic success,” she said in a statement.

An October report by Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission found approximately 1.1 million children in Virginia aged 12 and younger need child care, and the majority of Virginia families find care to be unaffordable. Read More

The current FBI headquarters in D.C. (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) Virginia’s elected leaders may not agree on issues like abortion access or education, but they remain united by the conviction that the Commonwealth would be a better host than Maryland for the FBI.

After coming together to pitch a Springfield warehouse as the best site for the law enforcement agency’s new headquarters, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin joined Democratic senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Virginia’s bipartisan House delegation last Thursday (Nov. 9) to blast the federal government for awarding the facility to Prince George’s County instead.

“It was outrageous,” Warner said in a press call earlier that day. “I mean, Virginia clearly was the better case. Virginia clearly was winning the first set of criteria. The fact that political pressure was put on to try to change the criteria really stunned me.”

Their outrage was echoed by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, who has called Springfield a “no-brainer” choice for the FBI’s new headquarters.

“This is profoundly disappointing and defies common sense,” McKay said in a statement to FFXnow. “The FBI headquarters should be strategically located near the training academy in Quantico, a short VRE ride from the Springfield site. This decision will not serve the long-term needs of the FBI or its employees nearly as well as the Virginia site would.”

The General Services Administration (GSA) announced Thursday that it has selected a 61-acre site near the Greenbelt Metro station in Maryland to serve as the FBI’s new headquarters campus, confirming an initial report by the Washington Post that came out a day earlier.

“The site was the lowest cost to taxpayers, provided the greatest transportation access to FBI employees and visitors, and gave the government the most certainty on project delivery schedule,” the agency said in a press release. “It also provided the highest potential to advance sustainability and equity.”

The decision appears to have concluded a years-long effort to replace the FBI’s aging hub at 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in D.C. that dragged on through four presidential administrations.

However, a previously confidential report released by the GSA showed that a site selection panel convened this summer had recommended the Springfield site — currently known as the GSA Franconia Warehouse Complex at 6808 Loisdale Road — as the one “most advantageous to the Government.”

The panel, which consisted of two GSA employees and one FBI employee, noted that the site had the advantage of already being owned by the federal government and had more capacity for an expansion than the Greenbelt site, which ranked the lowest of the three options on that criteria.

The Greenbelt site came out ahead of the former Landover Mall, also in Prince George’s, but it was the “least advantageous” when it came to the top criterion: proximity to other facilities critical to the FBI, including its training academy in Quantico and federal agencies in D.C. like the Justice Department.

Further raising eyebrows in Virginia, FBI Director Christopher Wray rejected the proposed relocation to Greenbelt in an Oct. 12 letter first reported by the Washington Post, stating that former GSA Commissioner of Public Buildings Nina Albert’s previous job with Metro created “unresolved” conflict-of-interest and transparency issues. Read More


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