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Moore joins Maryland officials in push to relocate FBI in majority Black jurisdiction

Gov. Wes Moore leads a press conference March 8 outside the U.S. General Services Administration main office in Washington, D.C. Moore and federal and county officials consulted with the agency on its site proposal to decide whether to build a new FBI headquarters in Maryland or Virginia. Photo by William J. Ford.

Maryland federal, state and county officials pushed one message Wednesday for the U.S. General Services Administration: build the new Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Prince George’s County.

“It’s about much more than where we just put a building. This is about making the right decision for today and also the right decision for the future,” said Gov. Wes Moore (D) during a press conference outside the GSA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Moore and other members of “Team Maryland” met Wednesday morning with representatives from the GSA and FBI to implore that Prince George’s, one of the nation’s largest majority Black jurisdictions, deserves to house the bureau’s 7,000 employees at either a site in Greenbelt or Landover.

But Maryland must compete with its neighbor across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge for the new headquarters, a facility that was pitched more than a decade ago and whose final location must be approved by the GSA.

Officials from the Commonwealth plan to meet with federal officials at the administration’s headquarters Thursday. Afterward, Sens. Tim Kaine (D) and Mark Warner (D) plan to hold a press conference outside the agency’s main office.

As for Maryland, Moore summarized how four of the GSA’s five criteria of cost, transportation, equity and flexibility favor a Prince George’s County location.

Moore and other Maryland leaders criticized the other criterion labeled “FBI mission requirement,” which deals with a site plan amended last year that calls for the new headquarters to be in proximity to the bureau’s academy in Quantico, Virginia. That criterion accounts for 35% of the score, the highest among all five factors.

When asked Wednesday if federal officials explained why that was considered the most relevant, Moore said, “No.”

He said agency officials said that decision “is not locked in stone” and they would reevaluate the scoring process and other factors.

“We as Team Maryland plan to hold them to it,” Moore said.

The governor also honed in on equity issues, which he said the Virginia site cannot match, especially since President Joe Biden made it priority in a 2021 executive order.

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) said although the county has federal assets, the financial investment is much less compared to Virginia.

She said the federal government has spent about $121 billion in the county, but nearly four times as much in Virginia at $460 billion.

In terms of economic mobility, a report released two years ago from Connected DMV notes that Fairfax County, Virginia, where the Springfield is located, ranks second in the nation in that category among the nation’s 150 largest counties. Prince George’s ranks 107.

“That’s the equity that we’re talking about,” Alsobrooks said. “We believe that the Maryland site allows us to achieve the equity that we’re talking about, the fairness that we’re talking about and allows the agency to complete its mission.”

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) criticized the scoring process for ranking cost at only 10%, especially when the project could cost federal taxpayers at least $1 billion more for site costs to locate the bureau in Springfield.

A GSA spokesperson released a statement to thank the Maryland delegation for its “thoughtful input and engagement” on the project and said they were ready to consult with Virginia leaders Thursday.

“GSA and FBI are committed to fully considering the feedback we receive as we work to ensure a fair and transparent process that results in a site that will best serve the FBI and the American people for generations to come,” according to the statement. “Following this week’s consultations, GSA and FBI will deliberately consider the input we received to determine next steps on the site selection process.”

Meanwhile, members of the Virginia delegation released a “fact sheet” Wednesday to summarize arguments for the Springfield site. In the document, they dispute the $1 billion cost differential cited by Maryland lawmakers, saying the commonwealth has invested $15 billion in infrastructure improvements around the proposed site. Other points included were:

  • Compared to Fairfax, Prince George’s already has more federal property and office space with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Beltsville Agricultural Center.
  • Fairfax ranks among the top jurisdictions in the country in terms of the population of foreign-born residents.
  • While the Greenbelt site is close to public transportation, the Springfield location provides nearly “double the number of bus routes.”

“As delegations from Virginia and Maryland meet with the GSA and the FBI about selecting a new FBI headquarters, you are likely to hear a number of arguments from our Maryland friends,” according to the letter from the Virginia delegation. “We wanted to provide some background information to clear up some of the rhetoric Maryland has been pushing and provide the facts.”


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Moore joins Maryland officials in push to relocate FBI in majority Black jurisdiction