Crossposted from the Huffington Post.
To avoid small costs, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be creating big costs for everyone, including the federal government.
The EPA announced on Monday that it plans to move the Agency’s Region 7 headquarters, currently located in downtown Kansas City, Kansas, to Lenexa, a site nearly 20 miles outside of downtown. The EPA’s decision violates Executive Order 13514, which requires federal agencies to locate their offices in downtown areas and town centers whenever possible. Not following the Executive Order will cost a lot of money for everyone — including Kansas City and its businesses, EPA employees and U.S. taxpayers too.
As one of Kansas City’s major employers, EPA’s decision hurts the city, which has made great strides in the last decade to revitalize its downtown. “The EPA regional headquarters has been instrumental in our urban revitalization efforts,” Mayor Joe Reardon said in a statement on Monday, and the value of such an employer’s presence in a city’s revitalization efforts goes beyond their immediate impact. The EPA headquarters helped anchor renewed economic development in an area that had seen decades of decline, and the Agency’s decision undermines efforts to build a stronger economy in Kansas City.
The relocation will also mean increased traffic on I-35 and the higher maintenance costs associated with additional cars on the road. The Town of Lenexa projects I-35 to capacity by 2020, just 7 years into GSA’s 20-year lease. The EPA’s move will only hasten the arrival of that saturation point, creating costly delays or requiring even more (federal) money to improve conditions.