Shaking his head in disgust, Greenbelt, Md. Mayor Emmett Jordan said he can’t understand why the White House and the Republicans would pull the plug on the FBI Headquarters project after five years of planning. “It’s obviously a disappointment,” Jordan told the AFRO. “For Greenbelt, Prince George’s County and the state of Maryland, WMATA (Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Association), and the developer – we put a lot of time and effort in this project.”
Photo of the current FBI Headquarters in D.C.
Jordan said 11,000 workers would have come to Greenbelt had their site been selected and while a site in Landover, Md. and one in Springfield, Va. were under consideration the worst part of this decision is that federal officials have made no decision. “The FBI needs a place to go and to spend this amount of time on something and not make a decision has people scratching their heads,” said Jordan, adding that now the developer of the project is forced into a waiting game after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III also voiced disappointment after the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government of the House Appropriations Committee voted to rescind $200 million for the FBI headquarters relocation project in the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bill last week.
“This is a huge step backward and frankly, the Subcommittee of Congress has reneged on their commitment to fully fund the remainder of a project that is critical for the protection of U.S. citizens from international threats,” Baker, who is running for Gov. of Maryland, said in a statement. “If ever a project should have bi-partisan support and be recognized as vital for national security, this should.”
Baker went onto say that every year of delay could cost U.S. taxpayers as much as $100 million in additional costs. “The time is now to move ahead with funding to build a FBI Headquarters to better protect the American people,” he said.
Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene Grant said he never thought the FBI would relocate to the Landover site and he is not sad that they are not coming. “Given the history of the relationship between the African-American community and FBI, I was not enthusiastic about their presence in the county but that doesn’t mean we don’t want another government agency,” said Grant whose jurisdiction was near the Landover site. “We need real opportunities, real investments to have real outcomes.”
The FBI was poised to announce the site for its new headquarters and Prince George’s County officials were hopeful that facility, scheduled to be built in 2025, would be located in their backyard. However, some Greenbelt residents questioned the level of congestion that would have accompanied the new building. “We can’t handle any more traffic, the area is not meant for mega development,” Judy Blumenthal, a resident of College Park, Md., said in February.