The National Capital Planning Commission has recommended that more than $1.3 billion be spent over the next six years on federal construction and development projects in the Washington area, with about 60 percent of the funding going to the District itself.
But the federal planning agency, in its annual review of long-range building proposals by 16 federal departments and agencies, continued to oppose a dozen assorted federal construction projects here -- including more than $85 million in improvements to National Airport because no master plan exists for National.
Instead, the planning commission recommended 18 projects that it considers important for the Washington area but which individual federal agencies and the Carter Administration have not proposed to Congress. The 18 include dredging sections of the Potomac River, as well as improvements to the Union Station-National Visitor Center, the National Arboretum and Constitution and Independence avenues.
The planning agency also is urging expansion of Manassas National Battlefield Park and improvements to six other Washington-area parks, including the Georgetown waterfront, Daingerfield Island and Jones Point on the Alexandria waterfront, and restoration of the decaying 190-year-old markers that surround the original boundaries of the District of Columbia.
Among the proposed District projects endorsed by the commission are a $106 million military office building on Bolling-Anacostia Air Force Base for the Defense Intelligence Agency, a $61 million office building at 2d and E streets NW for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and a new $205 million home for the Government Printing Office beside the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station in Northeast Washington.
This session of Congress has been limiting the expensive practice of leasing federal office space and may speed up construction of some federal buildings here, such as the BLS building. It also may approve construction of others not included in current building proposals, such as a new Silver Spring headquarters for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But Congress apparently will again decline to fund the GPO building, which has been proposed since 1976 and would be the most expensive federal building ever erected.
Other District projects proposed for construction within the next six years include more than $90 million in improvements at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, $13 million at Fort McNair, $2.7 million for a Nautilus submarine memorial at the Washington Navy Yard, $4.2 million for an Air Force Band Center at Bolling-Anacostia, $8 million in National Park Service repairs to bridges and parks, $80 million in renovations to eight downtown federal office buildings, $26 million in National Zoo improvements and $2.5 million to restore the exterior of the Smithsonian Institution's Renwick Gallery.
Not all the 144 construction projects proposed by federal agencies and approved by the National Capital Planning Commission will be built in the near future, since Congress traditionally funds only 50 to 75 percent of the projects requested.