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Spending bill delays DHS headquarters project 5 years

Dec. 19, 2011 - 04:43PM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
The site of the under-construction Coast Guard headquarters is shown on Nov. 4. It is scheduled to be completed by spring 2013.
The site of the under-construction Coast Guard headquarters is shown on Nov. 4. It is scheduled to be completed by spring 2013. (Colin Kelly / Staff)

The Department of Homeland Security consolidation project will be delayed at lease five years and cost an additional $500 million because of legislation passed Saturday.

Congress approved $56 million to complete the new 1.1-million-square-foot Coast Guard headquarters, but it withheld funding to continue work on the other facilities that will populate the envisioned DHS headquarters campus.

As a result, headquarters facilities for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration will be delayed by at least a half decade, according to DHS estimates, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. In addition, the cost to complete the whole project will climb by at least a half-billion dollars.

The initial plan called for $3.45 billion to consolidate DHS headquarters operations at the site of the former St. Elizabeths Hospital in southeast Washington by the end of fiscal 2016.

But now the same project will cost $3.96 billion and take until the end of fiscal 2021 to complete delaying the relocation of more than 10,000 federal workers.

DHS and the General Services Administration, which manages the project's construction, requested $668 million for the headquarters project in 2011 but got only $77 million 12 percent of that request.

For 2012, the agencies requested $376 million. The legislation provides $56 million for DHS and $50 million for all new GSA construction projects.

To complete the Coast Guard facility by spring 2013, DHS has relied mostly on $200 million in stimulus funding and some 2009 funds. It is the only component of the DHS headquarters projects that appears on track to wrap up on time.

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