Saving Taxpayer Dollars and the Federal Real Property Database
2167 Rayburn House Office Building
This is a roundtable policy discussion of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.
Opening Remarks of Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee Chairman Lou Barletta (R-PA)
I am pleased to welcome all of our participants today.
Previously, we held a series of roundtables to focus on getting a handle on the large number of expiring GSA leases. The roundtables provided an opportunity for this subcommittee, GSA, GSA’s tenant agencies, and the private sector to have meaningful discussions on how best to approach those leases to save taxpayer dollars. The roundtables proved to be effective in getting agencies to rethink how they use and manage their spaces.
The goal of today’s roundtable is to begin a similar discussion on the Federal Real Property Profile database (FRPP) and look at how it can be effectively used to improve the management of federal real estate.
As we know, in 2016, Congress passed the Federal Assets Sale and Transfer Act (FASTA). FASTA established a board of outside experts to make recommendations on the sale or redevelopment of federal real estate assets. I want to thank Chairman Denham for his leadership in getting FASTA across the finish line.
As part of FASTA, the FRPP was codified into law and made publicly accessible. The intention was not only transparency, but also accountability.
It is my hope that as private sector experts, state and local officials, and others use the database, federal agencies will be held accountable for reporting accurate information and identifying properties that can be sold, redeveloped, consolidated, or reused.
Unfortunately, it is rare in Washington that agencies meet deadlines, so I appreciate the work of GSA in meeting the deadline for the release of the FRPP in December and the subsequent update last month.
The release of this database is significant and a win for transparency. Before FASTA was enacted, not even federal agencies had the ability to look across government to identify potential efficiencies.
The database includes information for over 300,000 federal real estate assets, including 40,000 office spaces, warehouses, and storage facilities, 17,000 parking structures, and 17,000 leased facilities.
To provide a general overview of the breakdown of civilian properties, we have provided two slides.
But, while transparency is important, using the data to inform decisions is critical – in essence, we must turn the data into action.
The release of the database provides us an opportunity to crowd-source ideas for how to save taxpayer dollars.
Since becoming Subcommittee Chair, the Committee has saved more than $3.6 billion dollars on prospectus level projects. We can save much more with FASTA – both in the work of the board and in the effective use of the FRPP. I hope today to learn how we can ensure that we capture those savings using the database.
Can the data help us identify potential projects like the Volpe Center project in Cambridge – where DOT and GSA were able to take an underutilized 14-acre
Today, I want to discuss three critical questions: How can the FRPP be used to improve the management of federal real estate? Are the accuracy and scope of the data collected sufficient for those purposes? And, how do we turn the data into action?
I want to thank GSA again for its partnership and for meeting the requirements on the FRPP. I also want to thank GAO who has done a lot of work over the years on the FRPP and federal property. And, lastly, I want to thank the private sector representatives who can help us think outside the box and look at property in a way that will create value to the taxpayer.”