President Obama proposed hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending toward consolidation of the Department of Homeland Security on the west campus of St. Elizabeths hospital and creation of a new civilian cyber campus in his budget proposal.
Dan Tangherlini, administrator of the General Services Administration, said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday that the president was again asking Congress to grant GSA “zero net budget authority,” in which the agency would be allowed to retain and re-invest all the money it collects on rents from federal agencies. He said the change was badly needed in order to address un-met building maintenance and repairs. “I have the world’s longest ‘honey-do’ list,” he joked.
Locally Tangherlini continues to press congressional appropriators to provide more funding for consolidation of DHS at St. Elizabeths hospital, the campus in Southeast D.C. where the U.S. Coast Guard is now headquartered but where the rest of the project is badly delayed and facing cost escalations as a result. Congress approved $155 million for St. Elizabeths in January, money that will allow for the start of work on the center building on the west campus, and Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget includes another $250 million.
Tangherlini said the project was critical to allowing DHS “to become a more cohesive and collaborative unit” rather than one spread across dozens of leased offices around the region.
But he said the project’s future likely relies on appropriators.
“Right now this is the only strategy we have, which is to continue to go and seek appropriations and pursue individual projects on the campus,” he said.
The GSA is also seeking $35 million for design of a 650,000-square-foot civilian cyber campus, a project that would provide space for agencies including the DHS and the Department of Justice. Tangherlini said a location for that facility had not been chosen yet but such a facility would allow the consolidation of a bevy of leased offices. “We are spending a significant amount of resources on rent on multiple sets of activities that could provide value if they were consolidated and co-located,” he said.
Among other projects for which the president requested funds, via the president’s proposal:
- John W. Powell Federal Building, in Reston, $11,010,000
- Frances Perkins Federal Building, $16,320,000
- GSA Headquarters Building, $7,091,000
- Harry S. Truman Federal Building, $15,530,000
- Herbert C. Hoover Federal Building, $150,900,000
- Robert C. Weaver Federal Building, $13,375,000
- Sydney Yates Federal Building, $32,820,000
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