A BRACtion Wakeup Call

In this episode the combo cash cow and golden goose of BRAC becomes a resource hog.

From the Baltimore Sun:

State and local officials are pressing the Army to do more to help with road and transit upgrades around Maryland’s expanding bases because millions of dollars in tax revenues could be lost from huge private office developments being built on the military installations.

“It’s problematic for us, quite frankly,” state Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari said yesterday, when asked about the impact of a 15-building, $700 million office complex the Army is negotiating to build at Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County.

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The Army has announced it is negotiating the lease of land at both Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County to private developers who would build offices and research space for defense contractors and other tenants. Because the land is federally owned, the developers would not pay property taxes.

Sometimes the naivete of these people is simply pathetic. The purpose of BRAC is to reduce the amount of money spend on superfluous infrastructure. It is not supposed to be the equivalent of the Lotto for local communities.

The cost-benefit analysis that supported the move of parts of other installations to Aberdeen Proving Ground and Fort Meade was predicated on things like the lease arrangement. That this is news to these folks should scare the bejeezus out of anyone who is taking their opinions seriously on the impact of BRAC.

My prediction. BRAC will be a net zero gain for the communities in question and quite possibly a net negative. The various state agencies and local governments are going to over invest in infrastructure that will not be needed and they will be stuck with the maintenance costs for decades to come. We, on the other hand, will be stuck listening to this assortment of lightweights whine about how expensive this experience was for decades to come.

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