DOT Headquarters:

Unclear Whether Union Station Site Is Best Location

GGD-92-126: Published: Sep 24, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 24, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the site the General Services Administration (GSA) has proposed for a consolidated Department of Transportation (DOT) headquarters building; (2) whether the proposed site would increase congestion and noise in the area; (3) whether air rights construction would increase costs; (4) whether GSA adequately considered alternative sites; and (5) how site construction would affect the National Railroad Passenger Corporation's (AMTRAK) operations.

GAO found: (1) the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) did not recommend a specific option, but suggested that the air rights option would have the least negative environmental impact; (2) building on air rights would not increase total project costs; (3) the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (PADC) reviewed the DOT/GSA air rights building cost estimate and concluded that it might be high due to generous escalation and contingency assumptions; (4) GSA and DOT can not be assured that they have identified all possible sites until they attempt to solicit land offers; (5) AMTRAK officials are concerned with how much of the station will be taken out of service and with construction workers' safety; (6) AMTRAK officials said that the platform would protect the tracks from inclement weather, and the station would benefit from the many site improvements included in the project; and (7) DOT has not provided convincing analysis to support the need for consolidation.

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