- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 18, 2001

ASSOCIATED PRESS
For the first time since a hijacked jet slammed into the Pentagon, the building's workers and other commuters yesterday caught public buses within sight of the facility.
Officials marked the opening of the new $36 million Pentagon Transit Center by dedicating it to the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and New York's World Trade Center.
"There are over 30,000 people who get on buses here from Metrorail," said U.S. Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat, whose district includes the Pentagon.
Mr. Moran's comments came following the official dedication as he stood beside raised metal lettering proclaiming the facility in "in memory of all those whose lives were forever changed by the events of September 11, 2001."
The new facility was designed and funded in response to general security concerns well before the attacks, but it became far easier to substantiate the expense afterward.
"It was only 10 feet away from the Pentagon initially," Mr. Moran said of the old bus station.
The new bus staging areas are 300 feet from the building and sit beneath a reinforced berm that forms the outer wall above Metrorail's underground subway station.
Officials contend security concerns have to be balanced with the need to get thousands of workers and visitors in and out of the Pentagon complex each day.
"There's no federal agency that employs as many civil servants as the Pentagon, and they need to come in on public transit," Mr. Moran said.
Since the September 11 attacks, Pentagon workers had to walk several blocks to a makeshift transit staging area established within hours of the attack.
Pentagon planners oversaw design and construction of the new facility, which has closed-circuit television monitors and extensive emergency-communications equipment.
The old bus terminal will be razed and replaced with a new Pentagon entrance building scheduled to open next fall. That project also is considered a security upgrade.
"It's based on Defense Department specifications," said Metro Board Vice Chairman Christopher Zimmerman.
The new facility will be served by 1,571 buses each day. In addition to Metrobuses, the Fairfax Connector, Omniride, the Loudoun County Bus Service and the City of Alexandria's DASH will use the facility's 24 bus bays.

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