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Lawmakers: Obama to request little or no funds for new construction in 2013

Feb. 10, 2012 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
GSA saw its budget for new construction slip from $82 million in fiscal 2011 to $50 million in fiscal 2012.
GSA saw its budget for new construction slip from $82 million in fiscal 2011 to $50 million in fiscal 2012. (Army)

The Obama administration will seek few if any funds in 2013 for federal construction projects, according to lawmakers and industry officials.

That has prompted several Maryland lawmakers to press the administration to include more funding to complete projects such as Food and Drug Administration headquarters consolidation at White Oak, Md. Non-defense projects are funded in the General Services Administration budget, which has been cut drastically in recent years.

"We understand that the FY 2013 budget will also not contain any amount for the [FDA] consolidation, or for any other GSA construction projects nationwide," said Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski and Reps. Steny Hoyer, Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards in a Jan. 31 letter to President Obama.

The lawmakers urged Obama to include funds for the FDA project in the 2013 budget.

"Under current funding projections, it is not clear how or when this will be accomplished," the lawmakers said.

GSA will likely get a small amount of funding for new construction, said one industry source familiar with the budget preparations affecting construction.

GSA will need much more funding than it has gotten recently to continue major projects.

GSA saw its budget for new construction slip from $82 million in fiscal 2011 to $50 million in fiscal 2012. The president's 2012 budget requested $840 million for new construction.

The 2012 cut followed a 91 percent drop in funding for new construction from $894 million in fiscal 2010 to $82 million in fiscal 2011, and a 32 percent cut to the renovation budget from $414 million to $280 million over the same period.

Congress first approved the effort to consolidate about 9,000 FDA employees into a single location in 1995 and GSA broke ground on the project about 10 years ago.

In fiscal 2011, GSA requested $174 million for the consolidation project but received a total of $82 million for all new construction.

GSA did not request any funding for the project in fiscal 2012.

In their letter, the lawmakers said FDA will not be able to operate as efficiently as needed until the project is completed.

"That would represent a breach of faith with the American public, whose health and well-bring are protected by the FDA every day," the letter said.

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