Will new criteria for FBI headquarters help Maryland?

The J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images)
The General Services Administration on Friday announced an updated weighting of criteria for choosing a location for a new FBI headquarters, which appears to help Maryland in its competition with Virginia.

Five major criteria are being considered, including overall cost and FBI proximity to its current facilities in the D.C. area.

Under previous criteria, the location was weighted at 35%. That was helpful to Virginia, since it is already the home to the FBI Laboratory at Quantico.

Maryland’s congressional delegation, which is hoping the new FBI headquarters will be located at one of two locations in Prince George’s County — either Landover or Greenbelt — argued the weighting was too high.

Virginia lawmakers, meanwhile, have countered that it makes more sense for the FBI to relocate from D.C. to Springfield, since the agency already has facilities nearby.

Under the new weighting from the GSA, the location criteria drops by 10%, from 35% to 25%.

Also beneficial to Maryland is an increase from 15% to 20% for promoting sustainable siting and advancing equity.

Maryland officials have argued a new FBI headquarters in Prince George’s County could provide a bigger economic and employment impact than it would in Virginia.

The weighting of cost was increased from 10% to 20%.

Maryland has maintained that it could develop a new FBI headquarters for close to $1 billion less than Virginia. That’s been contested by the Commonwealth.

Transportation access was dropped from 25% to 20%.

The criteria for site development flexibility and schedule risk stayed the same — at 15%.
Virginia senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine released a statement, after members of the congressional delegations from both states were briefed.

“While we are concerned that these changes to the criteria will further delay what has already been a drawn-out, decadelong process to select a new site to replace the dilapidated headquarters downtown, we remain confident that Virginia continues to be a home run in every category, and encourage the GSA to draw this process to a close sooner rather than later,” the lawmakers said.

The chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, recently has advocated that no money be provided to move the aging FBI headquarters from D.C. to Virginia or Maryland.

He instead has suggested that it be moved to an existing facility in Alabama.

But the FBI has indicated it is still sticking with its longtime plan to move to either the Maryland or Virginia suburbs.

In the Senate, Chris Van Hollen, of Maryland, said this week that an appropriations subcommittee has included $375 million in funding for a new FBI headquarters.

“I’m committed to keeping this project on track, and I will continue fighting to deliver the new headquarters that our nation’s law enforcement requires and bring that headquarters to Maryland,” Van Hollen said.

Van Hollen is joined by other Maryland lawmakers, including Gov. Wes Moore, who said they were encouraged by the news that they said “corrects the flawed approach released in September that ignored taxpayer costs and the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to equity.”

You can see the full summary of criteria here.

Mitchell Miller

Mitchell Miller has worked at WTOP since 1996, as a producer, editor, reporter and Senior News Director. After working "behind the scenes," coordinating coverage and reporter coverage for years, Mitchell moved back to his first love -- reporting. He is now WTOP's Capitol Hill reporter.

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