Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., called GSA's plans to build a new $322 million courthouse in L.A. "idiotic" and a waste of taxpayer dollars. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)
The General Services Administration is moving ahead with plans to build a new $322 million courthouse in Los Angeles despite objections from key lawmakers.
GSA issued a request for qualifications Jan. 20 for a 600,000-square-foot courthouse to be finished no later than March, 2016.
Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on public buildings, said in a statement there was already enough space in existing Los Angeles courthouses.
"GSA knows this project is unnecessary, which is why they are making a mad dash to spend the money now," Denham said.
Denham and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., the ranking member of the subcommittee, sent a letter Oct. 21 asking GSA not to begin construction on the courthouse.
Rep. John Mica, Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, called the new courthouse project "idiotic" and said in a statement that it was a waste of taxpayer dollars.
But Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement there was a "space emergency" and that the new courthouse was necessary.
"This courthouse has been on the drawing board for too long," Feinstein said in a statement.
In 2010, the GAO concluded that over the last decade, 3.56 million square feet of unneeded space was built in courthouses, wasting $835 million taxpayer dollars plus $51 million annually in operating costs.
Bob Peck, GSA's public buildings commissioner, has said the methodology used by GAO for the report was flawed.
The proposed courthouse would be LEED Gold certified — the second-highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.