- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and prominent Democrats linked arms Wednesday to outline a “rock-solid case” for putting the new FBI headquarters in their state instead of Maryland, as the General Services Administration nears a long-awaited decision on the site.

State leaders said the Beltway town of Springfield is close to the FBI Academy at Quantico and has easy access to Metro, Virginia commuter rail, and other transportation options.

“Dulles, Reagan National. It’s all here!” Mr. Youngkin, a Republican, said of area airports.

Leaders said Fairfax County is one of the most diverse and international places in the country, catering to President Biden’s push for equity in federal projects.

“We have all of the key ingredients the FBI needs to carry out its mission on behalf of the American people to protect its citizens and uphold the Constitution,” Mr. Youngkin said.

Congress has been pushing for years to relocate the FBI from the deteriorating J. Edgar Hoover Building in the heart of the District.

The GSA is expected to consult with teams from Maryland and Virginia in the coming weeks as it nears a decision on the $2.5 billion project, possibly by spring.

Language in the year-end omnibus spending bill said the states would have one last chance to pitch the GSA on their bids, speeding along the process.

“We look forward to receiving feedback from stakeholders and are also committed to a fair and transparent process that results in selecting a site that best meets the needs of the FBI and the American people over the long term,” the agency told The Washington Times.

The states bordering the nation’s capital are used to vying for the affection of capital-area residents and even Washington’s pro football team, which has a stadium in Maryland and a training facility in Ashburn, Virginia.

“The dirtiest of tricks was the rain this morning, and I blame that on [Rep.] Steny Hoyer,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, Virginia Democrat, said in a joking swipe at the longtime Maryland congressman.

Maryland lawmakers want the GSA to consider locations in Landover or Greenbelt because the Prince George’s County sites would comport with Mr. Biden’s directive on considering racial equity.

“There are many arguments that can be made as to why Maryland is the best choice for the new @FBI building — location, transit, people, cost — but one of the strongest is the racial equity that is only provided by the Prince George’s County location,” Sen. Ben Cardin, Maryland Democrat, tweeted after the Virginia event.

Mr. Hoyer said he’s been working for years to bring the FBI to Maryland and that “selecting Greenbelt or Landover as the new home to the FBI would be a major commitment to reducing disparities in communities of color.”

Virginia leaders hit back.

Fairfax County is “one of the most vibrant and diverse communities, not just in Virginia but in the country, and there’s no better place for the headquarters,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat.

He said more than 20% of students in the school system are learning English as a second language.

Mr. Youngkin said Springfield has a robust business ecosystem and enjoys “prime proximity” to other FBI assets compared to Greenbelt and Landover.

“Springfield is simply better situated, and that is how the decision should be made,” Mr. Youngkin said.

Virginia leaders seemed to relish the chance for a bipartisan swipe at their neighbors.

Sen. Mark R. Warner, a Democrat, said he rarely shows up for an event before 9 a.m. and grinned as he called Mr. Youngkin — a rising GOP star — “his excellency.”

The senator said the FBI site process has taken too long and was held up by the Trump administration.

“Virginia is a slam-dunk winner in this competition,” Mr. Warner said. “This process has to come to an end. It has been literally close to 15 years, and even in the pace of how Washington moves, that’s way too slow.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide