The federal judiciary and the General Services Administration (GSA) are in the midst of a multibillion-dollar courthouse construction initiative, which began in the early 1990s and has since faced rising construction costs. As requested, for 33 federal courthouses completed since 2000, GAO examined (1) whether they contain extra space and any costs related to it, (2) how their actual size compares with the congressionally authorized size, (3) how their space based on the judiciary's 10-year estimates of judges compares with the actual number of judges, and (4) whether the level of courtroom sharing supported by the judiciary's data could have changed the amount of space needed in these courthouses. GAO analyzed courthouse planning and use data, visited courthouses, modeled courtroom sharing scenarios, and interviewed judges, GSA officials, and other experts. The findings in this testimony are preliminary because the federal judiciary and GSA are still in the process of commenting on GAO's draft report and did not provide comments on this testimony.
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