- The Washington Times - Monday, February 12, 2018

The Trump administration will ask for $2.175 billion to build a new FBI headquarters in downtown Washington, a Justice Department official said Monday.

If approved, the money will be used to fund a $3.3 billion plan to tear down the existing FBI building on Pennsylvania Avenue and replace it with a more modern facility on the same location.

The cost of relocating the FBI’s roughly 11,000 workers to other government buildings during the construction is budgeted into the overall funding package, the official said.

“The idea is to build a modern and secure headquarters building,” Assistant Attorney General Lee Lofthus said.

The funding plan is part of President Trump’s infrastructure proposal, not part of the Justice Department’s fiscal 2019 budget request, Mr. Lofthus told reporters at a Justice Department briefing.

Mr. Lofthus called the FBI funding “an important part of the president’s infrastructure program.”

Congress still needs to approve the funding before any plan can move forward. If Congress greenlights the money, the project could begin this year.

The building, named after longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, was completed in 1975. It had become woefully out of date by 2012, according to the FBI, the General Services Administration and the Government Accountability Office.

The hunt for a new FBI headquarters site took nearly half a decade because of the enormous cost associated with the plan. Several times over the past few years the government had started and stopped the process of securing a new location.

For the past few years, the GSA had pushed the FBI towards a suburban Washington location, citing space needs and security concerns. In 2016, the GSA announced three finalists for the new FBI headquarters: Landover and Greenbelt in Maryland, and Springfield, Virginia.

A winner was expected to be announced by the end of 2016, but a new location was never picked. The process was pushed back until mid-2017.

However, in July, the Trump administration announced it would not proceed with the project, citing cost concerns.

On Monday, the GSA and FBI submitted the new headquarters plan to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The report emphasized the need for a new building.

“Crumbling facades, aging infrastructure, physical structural and security limitations in the degraded facility are all severely impeding the FBI’s ability to meet its critical law enforcement and national security missions,” the GSA said in a statement.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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