Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner shake hands, flanked by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, at a press conference urging the federal government to choose a Northern Virginia site as the location of the new FBI headquarters. (Office of Mark Warner)
In what Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Prince William, called “a great show of force,” Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin and five congressional Democrats gathered in Springfield Wednesday to urge the federal government to choose the Northern Virginia location as the site of the next FBI headquarters.
“I want to say it very, very clearly. There are three potential sites. The new FBI headquarters belongs here,” said Youngkin.
Facing a deteriorating headquarters in downtown Washington that first opened in 1974, the FBI has been eyeing new sites in Springfield, a densely populated part of Fairfax County near Interstate 95 and the Capital Beltway, as well as Greenbelt and Landover in Prince George’s County in Maryland.
Virginia and Maryland have competed fiercely for the prize, which is expected to bring roughly 7,500 employees to whatever location is chosen.
Most recently, Maryland has argued siting the facility in Prince George’s County would allow the federal government to meet equity and inclusion goals and “bring economic growth and development to a majority-Black county and its communities.”
On Wednesday, however, Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Fairfax, asserted Virginia’s Fairfax County “represent[s] one of the most diverse communities in America.”
U.S. Census Bureau data record Fairfax’s population as being roughly 49% non-Hispanic white, 21% Asian, 17% Hispanic or Latino, and 11% Black. A Feb. 3 letter from Youngkin, Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and seven members of the state’s 11-person U.S. House delegation also notes nearly 30% of Northern Virginia’s population is foreign-born, double the national average.
“This is a competition, and our friends across the river have done everything they can to try to cook the books to get the FBI to locate in Maryland,” said Connolly. “They cut appropriations. They tried to change the criteria the [General Services Administration] and FBI are using to make this decision. They’ve disparaged us and they’ve cooked up figures.”
Virginia officials have argued Springfield best meets five criteria laid out by the federal government, including proximity to the FBI Academy at Quantico and other agency sites, transportation access, site development flexibility, promotion of sustainability and equity concerns and cost.
Springfield, said Youngkin, “is in prime proximity to other FBI assets that will help support its mission. Springfield is half the distance to Quantico versus Greenbelt and over 40% closer versus Landover. The net difference is clear. Springfield is simply better situated, and that is how the decision should be made.”
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