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GSA may have to halt new construction, administrator says

Oct. 31, 2011 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
The General Services Administration is halting new construction, said Administrator Martha Johnson, above. Funding for new construction dropped 91 precent last year, and the House Appropriations Committee gave the agency no money for it in fiscal 2012.
The General Services Administration is halting new construction, said Administrator Martha Johnson, above. Funding for new construction dropped 91 precent last year, and the House Appropriations Committee gave the agency no money for it in fiscal 2012. (CHRIS MADDALONI / STAFF)

The General Services Administration may have to halt new construction if proposed budget cuts become reality, Administrator Martha Johnson said Monday.

"No new buildings in our future if you really look hard at the numbers," Johnson said at the GovGreen conference in Washington.

GSA saw its funding for new construction drop 91 percent from $894 million in fiscal 2010 to $82 million in fiscal 2011, and saw a 32 percent cut to its renovation budget from $414 million to $280 million over the same period.

Proposals for fiscal 2012 are bleaker: The House Appropriations Committee provides no money for new construction and $280 million for repairs. The Senate legislation provides $56 million for repairs and $280 million for new construction. The president's budget requested $840 million for new construction.

The federal building fund the revolving pool of funding GSA uses to maintain property, pay rent and manage its construction and renovation portfolio was cut from $9.1 billion in 2010 to $7.6 billion in 2011. Legislation passed by the House would cut it still further, to $7.2 billion, the lowest level since 2007.

The drastic budget cuts have forced the agency to look for "deep operational efficiencies," Johnson said.

While the government has been asked to go on a budgetary "diet" before, "today we the government are having our stomach stapled," Johnson said.

Budget cuts over the past year have forced GSA to postpone or cancel projects across the country and threatened its ability to provide basic services for its federal tenants.

GSA announced earlier this month it is indefinitely abandoning further renovations and a planned expansion of its headquarters in Washington. Employees who have been working in temporary leased offices during the renovation will move back to the headquarters building by February 2013 18 months ahead of the original move-in date.

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