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Government & Politics

U.S. Department of the Treasury to Print Currency at New Plant in Beltsville

Sheets of $1 bills run through the printing press at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on March 24, 2015, in Washington, D.C. The roots of The Bureau of Engraving and Printing can be traced back to 1862, when a single room was used in the basement of the main Treasury building before moving to its current location on 14th Street in 1864. The Washington printing facility had been responsible for printing all of the paper Federal Reserve notes up until 1991 when it started sharing the printing responsibilities with a new western facility that opened in Fort Worth, Texas. Getty Images photo by Mark Wilson.

The U.S. Treasury Department will replace its main currency-printing plant in Washington, D.C. with a new facility in Beltsville, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. announced on Wednesday.

The government will construct a new Bureau of Engraving and Printing production facility on the current site of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Prince George’s County.

The “environmentally conscious production facility” will produce paper currency and other federal security products, Hogan (R) said in a news release.

Bureau spokeswoman Lydia Washington said the 104-acre site was transferred from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the Treasury Department on Monday.

“This is an important milestone in the project,” she said.

The $1.4 billion production facility is currently under design, with construction expects to be completed by 2027. It will replace one in Washington, D.C., near the Holocaust Museum, that is more than 100 years old.

The current printing facility overlooking the Tidal Basin in D.C. opened in 1914 and “is a very challenging facility for us to produce in,” Len Olijar, the bureau’s director, told WTOP.

“The facility in Washington is more than 100 years old, very inefficient for 21st century manufacturing,” Olijar said. “…It’s hard to maintain temperature and humidity, and both temperature and humidity affect paper significantly when you’re printing.”

Convincing the federal government to open a new Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility in Maryland has been a priority for the state’s congressional delegation for years.

Maryland also is being considered for the new home of the FBI’s headquarters. There are three proposed sites: in Greenbelt and Landover, Maryland, and in Springfield, Virginia.

“Over the past three years, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the state of Maryland have worked closely on evaluating the potential for this Beltsville facility and determining how we can best work together to make this project successful,” said Governor Hogan. “Learning that the land has been transferred is another step in the right direction for moving this project forward. We look forward to seeing the Bureau and its hundreds of employees call Maryland home.”

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is expecting to house at least 850 workers on site, Hogan said, with 600 additional employees working remotely.

“We take pride in knowing that Prince George’s County will be one of only two locations in the country where U.S. currency is printed,” said David Iannucci, president of the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation. “Increasing the number of federal jobs, and federal investment, in the county have long been a key part of our strategic focus for growing the county’s economy.”

A plant in Fort Worth, Texas, is the only other facility where the federal government produces all seven denominations of paper currency. It opened in 1991 to meet an increase in production demand.

Currently, money printed at the Texas facility includes the letters “FTW” to indicate its origin. It’s unclear now how currency printed in Beltsville will be marked.

“There will have to be some indicator,” Olijar told WTOP. “There will be a way to tell that those notes are coming from the Beltsville, Maryland, manufacturing facility.”

Hogan said the state is working with the federal government and Prince George’s County to ease traffic and improve intersections near the new plant, including Maryland Route 201, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, and Powder Mill Road.

Danielle E. Gaines and Capital News Service reporter Ryan White contributed to this report.