The worsening traffic in northern Virginia is confirming Rep. Jim Moran’s warnings about the Defense Department’s decision to move 6,400 to the Mark Center in Alexandria, Va.
Moran (D-Va.) had objected the move that he said would further exacerbate traffic in the area. Now the Pentagon’s inspector general is issuing a report this week concluding the Army used flawed traffic data to make its case for locating workers to complex along Interstate 395. “We knew this was going to happen. The Army should’ve known this was going to happen,” Moran said in an interview with Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris.
The IG’s report will be the sixth to show the Mark Center move will worsen traffic in the area. Moran said this report uses “conclusive data” and is the “most damning.”
With less than half of the transfers completed in September, the Virginia Department of Transportation found that traffic flow has already been reduced to minimal acceptable standards.
“The most troubling thing is it didn’t have to happen,” Moran said.
He said most of the workers relocating to the new complex work in offices in Rosslyn and Crystal City, both with access to the Metro.
There is no turning back now from the relocation. “The building is somehow going to be occupied. There’s a lot of blame to go around, but the fact it, it’s there,” Moran said.
To ease the potential traffic gridlock, Moran said he has introduced language in three pieces of legislation — including the defense authorization bill — to limit the parking spaces at the Mark Center to no more than 1,000. DoD’s intent is to have 3,800 parking spots at the complex. Moran said he would be willing to compromise and limit the spaces to 2,000.
Moran also said employees should be encouraged to use ride-sharing, “so we don’t have 90 percent of the people driving by themselves, which is currently the practice.”
Without action, Moran said the traffic that is now at a “failing level of service” will only get worse. “People will look around and think, ‘Why did anyone in their right mind allow this to happen?'”
The congressman said lawmakers have taken a hands-off approach to the Mark Center issue because they consider it “parochial.” But timing is of the essence to pass legislation on the bill since all 6,400 will move to the Mark Center by year’s end.
“We’re now at the eleventh hour. It’s now really 11:59,” Moran said.
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-9 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, DC region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.