By Ryan White
Capital News Service — The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing is relocating its currency printing plant from Washington to Beltsville, Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday.
The new $1.4 billion facility will be on the campus of the former Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. The bureau also prints currency at a plant in Fort Worth, Texas, which opened in 1991 to meet an increase in production demand.
The 104-acre Beltsville site once served as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s largest scientific installation, hosting 17 different research laboratories specializing in subjects from hydrology to animal husbandry. The facility has since been transferred to the Department of Treasury, which oversees the printing of U.S. currency.
“Over the past three years, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the state of Maryland have worked closely on evaluating the potential for this Beltsville facility and determining how we can best work together to make this project successful,” Hogan said in a statement. “Learning that the land has been transferred is another step in the right direction for moving this project forward.”
The facility will be used to print new paper currency along with other secure federal documents. About 40 percent of U.S. paper currency currently is printed in Washington.
The construction of the facility will be managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Baltimore District and is slated to be completed by early 2027. Once operational, it is expected to employ at least 850 on-site workers and an additional 600 remote employees.
The current facility set to be replaced is located between 14th and 15th Streets, N.W., just south of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. Money has been printed at that plant since 1914 and has been a popular tourist attraction.
Hogan said the federal, state and county governments will work together to improve several intersections near the planned Beltsville facility to alleviate traffic congestion on commuting routes, including Maryland Route 201, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Powder Mill Road.
According to the Maryland Department of Commerce, the relocation will shorten the commute for the 65 percent of Bureau of Engraving and Printing employees who currently live in Maryland.
“More than 60 federal agencies call Maryland home, along with dozens of military facilities and federal research and development labs,” Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill said in a statement. “This Beltsville site will provide the convenience the BEP needs to increase its production and advance its manufacturing process, while providing a quality workplace for its employees.”
Maryland also is being considered for the new home of the FBI’s headquarters. There are three proposed sites: in Greenbelt and Landover, Maryland, and in Springfield, Virginia.
Fort George G. Meade, a U.S. Army installation located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, is home of the United States Cyber Command and the National Security Agency.
The Secret Service, which is charged with policing U.S currency, has a training site adjacent to the Beltsville Agricultural Research Facility.
The Food and Drug Administration has a sprawling campus in Silver Spring, Maryland, while the National Institutes of Health is headquartered in a complex in Bethesda, Maryland, and the National Archives and Records Administration operates a massive facility in College Park, Maryland.
“We take pride in knowing Prince George’s County will be one of only two locations in the country where U.S. currency is printed,” David Iannucci, president of the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation, said in a statement. “Increasing the number of federal jobs, and federal investment, in the county have long been a key part of our strategic focus for growing the county’s economy.”