“We have all of the key ingredients the FBI needs to carry out their mission,” said Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), before laying out factors that seem to make the Springfield location an ideal spot for the FBI. Those factors include a business friendly ecosystem, the high quality of life, its land owned by the Federal government and all the transportation options surrounding the site. “Springfield sits at the heart of a multi-modal transportation system,” Youngkin said.
The governor was on the stage of the Government Services Administration with local county supervisors, delegates and members of Congress to make the case.
In all of the speeches, there were convincing points for the FBI relocation, and many of the same points were vocalized more than once by different people, but they didn’t care. They even joked about it, and about getting up so early and standing out on a cold, rainy morning to make their cases.
The press conference follows a letter from the Commonwealth’s congressional delegation and Youngkin, detailing the ways in which Springfield best meets the five selection criteria set forth by the GSA and FBI, which are: transportation access; site development flexibility; promoting sustainable siting and advancing equity; and cost. The letter, dated Feb. 13, said, "Springfield offers the FBI the most advantageous site and provides the greatest opportunity to consolidate into one suburban headquarters, thus furthering the FBI’s mission to protect the American people and upholding the Constitution of the United States."
The proximity to other law enforcement entities was part of the argument. It's only 27 miles to Quantico where the FBI National Academy and FBI National Crime Lab are located, and the U.S. Department of Justice is only 13 miles away. The other two locations that are being considered include Greenbelt, Maryland, and Landover, Maryland, and both those locations are over 50 miles to Quantico.
“This site is proudly in Fairfax County,” said Fairfax County Chairman Jeff McKay (D).
The county’s diversity was also touted, with a community college nearby where the students that speak a second language are a majority. This might be needed by the next generation of FBI agents. “We need to make sure we have a diverse workforce,” said U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA).
Supervisor Rodney Lusk (D-Franconia) looked at the pockets of poverty surrounding the site, and said that the introduction of a federal entity like the FBI Headquarters is a way to end that poverty. “The single most effective way to lift people out of poverty is investment,” he said.
They all made a convincing case but in the end, the decision will be reached through a more complicated process involving officials at a higher level. All of the facilities competing for the FBI Headquarters have a solid case, said U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) but this site in Springfield is solid too. “On merits, I believe it’s a strong case,” Connolly said, and added that the next step is a meeting with all the players that is planned for March.