- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 8, 2007

Three Fairfax County supervisors met yesterday with the Virginia secretary of transportation to discuss concerns about the completion of a road through the Fort Belvoir’s Engineer Proving Ground before an estimated 18,000 jobs open in 2011.

During a meeting of the base realignment and closure (BRAC) Board of Advisers for Fort Belvoir, Supervisors Elaine McConnell, Dana Kauffman and Gerald W. Hyland questioned why construction of the Fairfax County Parkway has yet to begin, despite its importance to the jobs coming as part of the military’s BRAC program.

“This road was needed before BRAC,” said Mr. Kauffman, a Democrat who represents the Lee District. “It’s been sitting there as a fully funded, unbuilt project for over a decade.”

Though the state has committed the money to pay for the parkway, connecting it to Interstate 95 and the Franconia-Springfield Parkway was not part of the original project and has not been funded.

Secretary of Transportation Pierce R. Homer said the project cannot be completed in parts.

“It’s one project,” he said. “We have no funding and no environmental approval for any of the … access points.”

In response, the supervisors suggested starting road construction before the access points to other roads are made final.

“We have fooled around here for so long that I’m very angry about the fact that we might not have that road open by the time that BRAC is enacted here,” said Mrs. McConnell, a Republican who represents the Springfield Dstrict. “At the rate we’re going, we’re not going to have it. … What’s going to happen when they come in here without it?”

Most of the jobs coming to Fort Belvoir as part of the realignment will go to the mostly vacant proving ground on the west side of I-95.

The board also discussed the fort’s attempt to acquire a piece of land near the proving ground for 9,000 of the jobs. The land, which is owned by the General Services Administration, is adjacent to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station, which might help alleviate the expected traffic snarls that will come with the growth.

Col. Brian W. Lauritzen, the base’s commander and chairman of the board of advisers, said the Army is conducting a study on that possibility and will present it to Congress by the end of March.

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican, and Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat, will add an amendment into the defense authorization bill in April to transfer ownership of the land to Fort Belvoir.

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