Long-Term Neglect of Federal Building Needs

T-GGD-91-64: Published: Aug 1, 1991. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 1991.

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GAO discussed the General Services Administration's (GSA) public buildings program, focusing on: (1) the consequences of the government's failure to invest sufficiently in public buildings; and (2) obstacles affecting GSA ability to effectively meet federal space needs. GAO noted that: (1) GSA lack of investment in the federal buildings infrastructure is short-sighted and has long-term cost implications, such as rising dependence on costly, leased office space and higher building construction or repair costs resulting from project deferrals; (2) about 80 percent of the federally owned buildings controlled by GSA are over 20 years old, and many lack the electrical and telecommunications capabilities needed to accommodate new technologies; (3) obstacles impeding needed capital investment include the inadequacy of the Federal Buildings Fund to finance long-term capital investment needs, an inherent budget bias against increased federal ownership of space when compared to short-term leasing costs, the congressional prospectus process that encourages both GSA and Congress to think on a transactional project-by-project basis, and problematic GSA management information systems; and (4) although GSA has failed to develop comprehensive and prioritized plans on total space and building repair and modernization needs and associated funding requirements to guide decisionmaking, GSA recently proposed and supported the first major federal buildings construction program in 20 years.

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