Three massive government projects that could be killed by budget cuts


2011 was not the best year for federal construction projects (i.e. the worst?) across the country. Accounts were slashed, budgets cut and accounts slashed – I count that one twice – in an effort to cut government spending. So what may be left by the wayside as we move into 2012?

3: Justice Department: The Los Angeles Courthouse

This $399 million, 650,000-square-foot project is supposed to house the overflow of federal justices in the Los Angeles Area. While the money for this project has already been appropriated, members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on public buildings have asked the General Services Administration to block the project.

The Civilian Property Realignment Act which is working its way through Congress – would require GSA to sell the land on which plans to build the Los Angeles courthouse.

2: Department of Commerce: Herbert Hoover Building

Remaining Tab: $453 million

When the Herbert Clark Hoover building (it was named later) was finished in 1932 it was pretty awesome. It’s an eight acre, steel-framed 1.8 million square foot structure. It has six internal courtyards for ventilation, Indiana limestone with granite accents and 24 fluted Doric columns flanking the center section. But then again things like treated bronze doors don’t provide federal employees with contemporary IT infrastructure, modern office space or increased security.

Which is pretty important, I’ve been told.

So in 2008 the General Services Administration began an eight-phase renovation (yes, eight) to renovate the interior and exterior of the building. The total cost is estimated to be about $750 million and will be finished around 2021, and GSA has allocated about $256 million so far for the project. After the recession gave GSA a bargaining boost (saving $40 million in costs) the agency is left with a hole of about $453 million to fill.

For those of you following along at home, $453 million is enough money to purchase 453 million items from your local dollar menu (not counting taxes).

Its final budget for non-courthouse renovations: $260 million. That sounds like a lot until you realize that’s for the thousands of buildings GSA owns across the country and not just the Hoover-plex.

1.   The DHS headquarters consolidation at St. Elizabeths

Remaining tab: $3.6 billion (and climbing).

Originally designed as the best way to house more than 14,000 federal employees at the Department of Homeland Security, the project would encompass more than 50 buildings over more than 4 million square feet and 168 acres.  It was a chance to give the Coast Guard a brand new headquarters and bring all of its headquarters operation workers into one location.

When finished, the campus would serve as the operational headquarters of the entire agency.

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, according to agency estimates.

And that’s if Congress fully funds the project starting in fiscal year 2013.


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  1. I’m wondering if the new hospital complex scheduled to be built near Ramstein AFB in
    Germany to replace the hospital complex at Landstuhl will still be built now that troops are coming home. We still have troops all over Europe but the casualities from combat will be almost zero.

  2. 3 big reasons why our federal debt is approaching 18 trillion dollars eliminate all 3 projects and hundreds more like them.

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