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Votes

BRAC Triggers Triple Play

U.S. Reps. Thomas M. Davis, III (R-11) and James P. Moran (D-8) teamed with Virginia’s Sen. John Warner (R) to jointly secure five provisions in the 2007 Defense Appropriations bill designed to help southeastern Fairfax County deal with the 22,000-plus personnel coming to Fort Belvoir as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Report (BRAC).

Central to the package is a $13 million increase for construction of the Woodlawn Road replacement to connect Route 1 with Beulah Street. This brings the total appropriation for the Woodlawn Road project to $27 million.

The three also helped push through a provision that would allow the U.S. Department of Defense to “consider funding mass transit projects related to Fort Belvoir through the Defense Access Road (DAR) program and secured a provision that would help forge an agreement between Virginia and the Army to complete construction of the Fairfax County Parkway through the Engineering Proving Grounds (EPG) site,” according to their joint news release Monday afternoon.

Both the Woodlawn Road replacement artery and completing the Parkway connector through the EPG have been critical to dealing with the projected traffic surge envisioned as a result of BRAC. Of the estimated 23,000 personnel increase projected for Fort Belvoir by Sept. 15, 2011, nearly 18,000 of those are presently scheduled for the EPG area.

“As Fort Belvoir grows, so will traffic congestion around the base. Senator Warner, Representative Moran and I will continue to fight for every dollar to fund the necessary infrastructure improvements to the Belvoir area,” Davis said.

“For years, completion of the Fairfax County Parkway has been held hostage to complications involved with building through the Engineering Proving Grounds. With insertion of our bill language, Northern Virginia commuters frustrated with the Parkway’s missing link will finally be on the road to relief,” Moran said.

ADDITIONALLY, the three legislators were able to attach a provision that encourages DoD to consider mass transit projects for funding through its DAR program. That provision requires DoD to conduct a study of the complete range of options, including mass transit, in the DAR program, according to the release.

Another provision in the bill directs the Secretary of the Army to include a complete study of the impact on local transportation infrastructure in the Environmental Impact Statement mandated to be undertaken by Fort Belvoir as part of BRAC planning. This provision resulted from a request by Gov. Timothy Kaine (D), during a BRAC hearing held at Rolling Valley Elementary School on Aug. 31 under Davis’ aegis.

Finally, the three secured a provision in the bill that requires the Army to conduct a feasibility study of relocating BRAC personnel at a Springfield General Services Administration warehouse complex that is within walking distance of the Springfield Metro and VRE stations. This provision has been long sought by Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman.

“Building on the GSA warehouse site would encourage more workers to use mass transit. And, with the unprecedented movement of 22,000 plus jobs to such an already overburdened area, it must remain on the table,” Davis said.