FBI HQ Announcement Postponed Pending Congressional Funding
After announcing last fall its decision to delay the selection of a new FBI headquarters location until March of 2017, the General Services Administration (GSA) officially put the search on hold Friday.
Last year, GSA narrowed down the location to either Greenbelt, MD; Landover, MD; or Springfield, VA and said a shortlist of developers were selected for the project.
With the current stopgap budget legislation due to expire April 28, GSA said in a statement it requires additional congressional funding in order to make an announcement on where to build the FBI’s new headquarters.
GSA officials originally planned to announce the location and builders by the end of 2016, yet in October, announced it would need more time “due to a strong and overwhelmingly positive response from developers to the solicitation,” and thus set the March deadline.
“GSA and FBI have worked diligently since the Fall issuance of the revised schedule,” a GSA spokeswoman said. “We have met the milestones at this point. Appropriations are necessary in order for us to make an announcement and move forward with the next critical steps under the [National Environmental Policy Act] NEPA process and ultimately make an award.”
To pay for the almost $2 billion facilities, GSA plans to trade the FBI’s current headquarters in the J. Edgar Hoover Building to help finance the new facility, but still needs ample funding to pay for the entire project, reported FEDagent.
President Obama sought $1.4 billion in appropriations for the project in his fiscal 2017 budget. If approved by Congress, that money would add to $390 million already set aside for the project, assuaging fears that the Hoover Building would not fetch a high enough price to build a 2.1 million-square-foot secure campus.
Members of the Maryland delegation were displeased with Friday’s announcement, stating, "we recognize the urgent need to select a site, and are concerned that the continued delays will have a negative impact on the safety and security of our nation," Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Reps. Steny H. Hoyer and Anthony G. Brown said in a joint statement.
They are among the Maryland officials who have waged a hard-fought campaign to bring what is expected to be a more than $2 billion construction project to Maryland. Former Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski and other members of the delegation helped secure $390 million in federal funding for the project late in 2015. Another $255 million was approved in December, reports The Baltimore Sun.
"Appropriations are necessary in order for us to make an announcement and move forward with the next critical steps ... and ultimately make an award," the GSA statement said.
Posted in General News