Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell plans to tell Defense Secretary Robert Gates how he feels about the traffic gridlock expected when 6,400 defense workers are relocated to the Mark Center at 395 and Seminary Road.
Mr. McDonnell said he will be sending a letter to Mr. Gates that spells out his concerns about the move and suggests a few solutions. The state is paying $80 million for a ramp near the Alexandria site, but the project won’t even be started by the transition’s September deadline.
“The problem is, we’ve been advised by the federal government that we have to do an environmental impact statement, which means there are 18 months before we can even start,” Mr. McDonnell said during his monthly appearance on WTOP Radio’s “Ask the Governor” program. “Perhaps they would delay moving people there before the infrastructure improvements are done.”
The Department of Defense inspector general cast doubt last week on the Army’s claim that the relocation won’t cause significant traffic problems. The report supported dire predictions Rep. James P. Moran and other elected officials have been making for months — that the relocation is unwise given that the area isn’t accessible by public transportation. Mr. McDonnell agreed.
“At Seminary Road, the exit ramps there are already pretty tough right now,” he said. “To add a significant volume, it’s not going to work.”
Mr. Moran urged officials in Alexandria and Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties to consider seeking a court order to delay the relocation until a remedy can be found. The Fairfax County Board is considering legal action today in a closed session.