When members of Congress question Trump administration officials at a hearing today on maximizing taxpayer dollars and reducing waste in federal real estate, they will have a prime example of how it can all go wrong, reports the Washington Post. The headquarters of the premier U.S. crime-fighting institution, the FBI, is falling apart, but the government has repeatedly failed to build a replacement. More than a decade after FBI officials began pushing for a home to replace the 1975-era J. Edgar Hoover Building, and six years after a government report identified long-standing security concerns with the property, the General Services Administration canceled its search for a new headquarters.
The FBI is not the only loser. It’s joined by state officials, county officials, real estate developers, architects and engineers, and of course, taxpayers. The decision drew wide condemnation from officials in Maryland and Virginia who have spent years pushing for the bureau to move its 11,000 headquarters employees to one of three final locations. “I’ve never seen a decision handled with more mismanagement and more negligence,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Real estate developers who devoted more than two years to their proposals and spent millions of dollars designing and planning a new campus threw up their hands. One official estimated that $50 million had been spent by local companies and jurisdictions on the now-dashed project. GSA officials said that an $882 million funding gap remained, despite Congress appropriating $523 million for the project in 2017. The GSA said, “Moving forward without funding would be a disservice to the American taxpayer. Assertions to the contrary are not based on accurate information.”