Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village), Ranking Member on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Subcommittee on Health, expressed her frustration at the VA’s inability to provide transparency in their financial tracking process at a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing reviewing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Construction and Leasing Programs.
“It is frustrating that there is no way within the VA to track the costs of these projects,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “We are supposed to be serving our veterans, but the VA is unable to keep track of where the money is going. I believe this fundamental problem is something we need to fully understand. We must address this issue, and it must be fixed.”
Several reviews have exposed deficiencies within VA management of their construction program, leading to huge delays and significant increases in costs. Congresswoman Brownley believes the VA can do much better with their Construction and Leasing Programs, and are underperforming for our veterans. Brownley believes that our nation’s veterans deserve the best care available, and the VA should improve their organizational structure to successfully execute the Construction and Leasing Programs.
In 2012, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a review of the VA’s management of medical facility construction projects and released the report in April 2013. GAO found VA’s four largest construction projects – Las Vegas, Orlando, Denver and New Orleans – all had cost increases ranging from 59 percent to 144 percent, representing a total cost increase of nearly $1.5 billion and an average increase of approximately $366 million per project. Additionally, GAO reported schedule delays ranging from 14 to 74 months with an average delay of 35 months per project.
The hearing can be found here, with Congresswoman Brownley’s questioning of the panelists at 58:20 and 1:33:48.