Choosing A Humble Way Forward
M.H. Jim Estepp Calls FBI HQ Project Defunding An Opportunity for Uniting Leadership
It was with great disappointment that we received the news this week that the General Services Administration (GSA) would no longer seek a new home for the aging Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Washington, D. C.
After years of investing time, millions of dollars and intellectual resources, the decision was made to defund the move at the federal level, leaving two states frustrated and wondering what comes next.
We continually hear how elections have consequences, and major elections can create significant sea changes from previous administrations. What should happen in the wake of elections is everyone being united to stay focused on the objectives that matter, leaving partisanship behind.
We now have a $2 billion project, one which would have invigorated the regional economy, while creating long-term cost savings and greater efficiencies for the federal government and law enforcement professionals, scratched, in favor of the continued use of a 40+ year-old building that is inadequate to maintain the high standards of our domestic intelligence agency.
Rather than giving up, I see reasons for hope and optimism in this setback. Perhaps now we can see our elected officials, men and women of good conscience, who entered higher office with aspirations to make a difference, begin to work together for the benefit of our county, state and nation.
The GSA can start with a re-written solicitation, one that does not require the transfer of the Hoover Building to the firm constructing the new facility, and one which delivers funding as necessary, not stalling a project because the entirety of the project isn’t funded upfront, similar to what the federal government does, every day, with projects of every scope and size. Less name calling and more consensus building is also in order.
Let’s encourage our federal partners to work with us, rather than to create an adversarial relationship with those from whom we seek opportunity. We have seen what can happen with divisiveness dominating the environment.
Instead, let us remind everyone why Prince George’s County is a rising star in the great State of Maryland, and a model for growing urban/suburban communities throughout this country.
I believe the FBI headquarters building project can be on the move again, and that Prince George’s will be its home. Because of that, I would suggest reflecting on the words of Benjamin Franklin, who said, “He that can have patience can have what he will.”
M.H. Jim Estepp
President & CEO
Greater Prince George's Business Roundtable