Amendment aims to assist affected communities that lack funding, time to complete major transportation projects
Nov 06 2009
Contact: Kevin Hall (202-224-2023)
Washington, DC – Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner today introduced an appropriations measure that directs a transportation study of improvements needed to accommodate growth and traffic associated with the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) program. The Senators’ amendment aims to address the lack of adequate funding and time for BRAC-affected communities to undergo needed transportation projects.
The amendment to the Milcon/VA appropriations bill would make $450,000 available to the Secretary of Defense to arrange a study through the Transportation Research Board.
“There is no question that, as a result of BRAC consolidation, many communities are facing dramatic and sudden population growth, and the related traffic congestion and quality of life challenges that come with it,” said Senator Jim Webb. “Virginia is fortunate to host a number of military facilities that will see significant growth by 2011 under the BRAC program. While that growth is a welcome economic boost, it also places a burden on the surrounding communities, and we have a responsibility to work with those communities to find ways to address their urgent transportation and infrastructure needs.
Webb continued: “Many of the affected communities lack the funding and time to complete major projects before BRAC growth occurs. This study will explore what federal, financial remedies could be available.”
“The decisions made during the 2005 BRAC round will strengthen Virginia’s long and historic partnership with our nation’s armed forces, and it also will create some significant infrastructure challenges for commuters and local governments,” Senator Warner said. “The additional personnel assigned to Quantico, Fort Belvoir and Fort Lee could overload already congested transportation networks. Our amendment will fund an orderly and thoughtful analysis of the transportation and other infrastructure challenges created by this sudden growth,” Senator Warner said.
The study could identify new criteria for determining the eligibility of transportation project funding and appropriate DOD share for transit improvements. BRAC-related consolidations have generated major road projects to address congestion at Fort Belvoir, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Lee, and others.
According to a GAO report, BRAC-affected communities identified about $2 billion in expected costs for transportation projects believed to be necessary to address military growth in the near term, before BRAC’s September 2011 deadline. The costs of longer-term projects beyond the BRAC deadline are uncertain.