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Budget plan underfunds DHS headquarters construction

Feb. 13, 2012 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
Construction of the new Coast Guard headquarters on the site of the former St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington is seen. The facility is expected to open in 2013.
Construction of the new Coast Guard headquarters on the site of the former St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington is seen. The facility is expected to open in 2013. (Colin Kelly / Staff)

The General Services Administration would get only $56 million for new construction under the administration's 2013 budget putting in jeopardy the consolidation of the Department of Homeland Security.

GSA and DHS would need at least $460 million in 2013 to avoid any further delays and cost overruns, according to DHS estimates obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

DHS would receive only $89 million for the consolidation efforts in 2013 mainly for transportation improvements on nearby roads.

The project is intended to relocate 14,000 workers from more than 180 offices onto the campus of the former St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast Washington.

Because of congressional budget cuts, only the Coast Guard headquarters is expected to be completed on schedule in spring 2013.

The initial plan called for $3.45 billion to consolidate all DHS operations by fiscal 2016, but, according to December projections, 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 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. DHS asked for $160 million but received only $56 million.

GSA has relied mostly on $200 million in funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, as well as funds from the 2009 budget, for the Coast Guard headquarters.

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