WASHINGTON – An expansion of Arlington National Cemetery could be scaled back because the county and state of Virginia want to build a bus facility, according to Sen. John McCain.
McCain sent a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh on Wednesday calling the possibility "shameful" and urging the service to maximize the number of plots in the project.
The national cemetery could reach capacity within a decade and is encouraging cremations and enforcing strict burial regulations to save space. But the Navy Annex facility that once overlooked the Pentagon has been demolished and offers an opportunity for an additional 7,600 internment sites.
"It would be shameful to have to tell the family of a fallen American hero that there is no space available at Arlington National Cemetery, because rather than expand its grounds, Arlington County and the Virginia Department of Transportation decided to build a bus maintenance facility," McCain wrote in a copy of the letter to McHugh shared with media.
The county and state want to realign Columbia Pike, a state highway, in a way that leaves space for the busing facility, he wrote.
Arlington County did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday afternoon.
"As you proceed with discussions on this matter … I encourage you to pursue a solution that maximizes property for the cemetery and restricts incompatible use, and to use whatever tools available to you to ensure this outcome," McCain told McHugh.