Increasing Public Use and Benefits from Surplus Federal Real Property

LCD-78-332: Published: Sep 12, 1978. Publicly Released: Sep 12, 1978.

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Since 1944, the federal government has transferred surplus real property to public agencies and nonprofit institutions, usually at no cost to the recipient. The property, including land, buildings, and other facilities such as airfields, is no longer needed by any federal agency, and the transfers are intended to provide continued public benefit through specific uses in health, education, recreation, airport, and wildlife conservation. The General Services Administration (GSA) is responsible for the surplus real property program.

Although some transfers of surplus federal real properties have benefited the public, many of the grantees have not fulfilled their contracts with the federal government to provide public benefits. Of 62 properties examined, 27 had not been developed or were not being used as intended, and 31 properties had been only partially developed or used. Twenty-six of the properties were being used for unauthorized purposes, primarily leasing for agricultural or related purposes for which revenues were derived. Federal agencies do not adequately monitor property use and do not always advise grantees of noncompliance. Federal agencies also have not acted promptly and seldom exercised their option for reverting property and considering alternative disposal actions as a means of achieving continued public benefits. GSA has not played a strong enough role in controlling and administering the program to ensure that public benefits are derived; it lacks accurate inventory records and does not systematically review activities of monitoring agencies.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, GSA, in coordination with other sponsoring federal agencies, should compile and maintain an inventory of surplus real property conveyed with federal restrictions, establish and maintain records of program activities, and strengthen GSA involvement for ensuring program compliance.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Transportation, the Interior, and Health, Education, and Welfare should: (1) require more critical reviews of applications for property to ensure that it is transferred to applicants who can achieve the desired public benefits; (2) establish an agressive monitoring and enforcement revenue program; (3) develop uniform guidelines and procedures for producing activities, including adequate control on reporting, use, and disposition of funds; and (4) reclaim the property and return title to the federal government where property is not being used or developed for the purpose conveyed and in accordance with transfer terms.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Transportation, the Interior, and Health, Education, and Welfare should: (1) require more critical reviews of applications for property to ensure that it is transferred to applicants who can achieve the desired public benefits; (2) establish an agressive monitoring and enforcement revenue program; (3) develop uniform guidelines and procedures for producing activities, including adequate control on reporting, use, and disposition of funds; and (4) reclaim the property and return title to the federal government where property is not being used or developed for the purpose conveyed and in accordance with transfer terms.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health, Education, and Welfare

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Transportation, the Interior, and Health, Education, and Welfare should: (1) require more critical reviews of applications for property to ensure that it is transferred to applicants who can achieve the desired public benefits; (2) establish an agressive monitoring and enforcement revenue program; (3) develop uniform guidelines and procedures for producing activities, including adequate control on reporting, use, and disposition of funds; and (4) reclaim the property and return title to the federal government where property is not being used or developed for the purpose conveyed and in accordance with transfer terms.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

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