Construction at the Department of Homeland Security Campus, which includes the new Coast Guard headquarters, is seen in Southeast Washington, D.C. (Staff)
The General Services Administration will be cutting even more corners to finish the new Coast Guard headquarters on time, according to a spending plan sent to Congress Jan. 27.
The agency had originally asked for $76 million to finish support features such as an access road to the new facility, a power plant and a visitor's center — but received just $50 million for all new construction projects.
Now the agency will fund only the first portion of the power plant, cut funding for a stone wall paralleling the access road, and postpone a planned visitor's center in order to finish the headquarters by spring 2013.
The $435 million, 1.1 million-square-foot Coast Guard headquarters is part of a larger effort to consolidate the Department of Homeland Security at the site of the former St. Elizabeths Hospital west campus in southeast Washington.
About 3,860 Coast Guard employees will work out of the 11-story building, complete with parking garages and day care.
But the DHS headquarters consolidation project has been plagued by congressional budget cuts that have pushed the final price up $500 million, according to DHS estimates obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The initial plan called for $3.45 billion to consolidate DHS operations by fiscal 2016, but now the same project will cost at least $3.96 billion and take until the end of fiscal 2021 to complete, delaying the relocation of more than 10,000 federal workers by up to five years.
DHS and the General Services Administration, which manages the project's construction, requested $668 million for the consolidation in fiscal 2011 but got $77 million — 12 percent of the request.
For 2012, GSA requested $217 million for the project but received only $50 million for all of its new construction projects.
GSA has relied mostly on $200 million in funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, as well as funds from the 2009 budget, to complete the Coast Guard headquarters.