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McCain: 'Shameful' to Limit Arlington Cemetery Expansion for Bus Facility

McCain wants the Army to maximize the number of graves at Arlington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

John McCain is pushing hard to quash the idea of building a bus maintenance facility on property the Arizona Republican would rather see set aside for an expansion of the adjacent Arlington National Cemetery.  

In a letter to Army Secretary John M. McHugh, the Senate Armed Services chairman criticized the Virginia Department of Transportation and local government for wanting to build the maintenance facility on the site.  

"It has recently come to my attention that efforts to work with Arlington County and the Virginia Department of Transportation have stalled because of their insistence on an alignment that would reduce the number of interment sites and allow the county to construct a bus maintenance facility," McCain wrote. "I am sure you would agree that we should instead pursue an alignment that maximizes the number of interment sites and places restrictions on the remaining property that ensure whatever is built reflects the solemnity of this national cemetery."  

In the letter dated Wednesday and released Thursday afternoon, McCain asks McHugh to use whatever tools he might have to help ensure the most plots possible become available at the site.  

"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. As things stand today, it is estimated that the cemetery will run out of interment sites in less than 10 years," wrote McCain. "However, including the adjacent properties would extend the life of the cemetery and allow another 7,600 interment sites to be added."  

Related: Lautenberg to Be Buried at Arlington, Will Lie in Senate Chamber See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.