Washington, DC – A report released today by the Republican leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee identifies a quarter of a trillion dollars in potential savings to the taxpayer through improved management of federal assets and the elimination of waste in agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction.
The report, entitled “Sitting on Our Assets: The Federal Government’s Misuse of Taxpayer-Owned Assets,” was prepared by the Committee’s minority staff and released by the Committee’s ranking members. Click here to view the entire report.
“This comprehensive review identifies up to a quarter of a trillion dollars in potential savings that could be achieved by eliminating waste, better managing critical federally-owned assets, and operating government programs with more efficiency,” said U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-FL), the Committee’s top Republican. “The report examines opportunities for saving taxpayer dollars in major areas under the jurisdiction of the Committee, including the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, the General Services Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Americans have tightened their belts during these difficult economic times, but the federal government has not,” Mica continued. “Congress must become a better steward of the people’s money and resources. It’s time we stop sitting on our assets, stop wasting taxpayers’ money, and start getting the best return on the hard-earned funds Americans send to Washington.
“Using this report as a blueprint, the federal government could save the taxpayers billions, and if every committee in the House prepared a similar report, we could target trillions in potential savings,” Mica added.
Joining Mica in releasing the report were the ranking members of the panel’s six subcommittees:
- U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI), Aviation Subcommittee
- U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), Highways and Transit Subcommittee
- U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee
- U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee
- U.S. Rep. John Boozman (R-AR), Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee
- U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee
The report proposes cost savings and better utilization of government-owned resources across the entire jurisdiction of the Committee, including each of the panel’s six subcommittees.
The U.S. government is the nation’s largest asset holder. It manages 896,000 buildings and structures with a total area of 3.29 billion square feet and more than 41 million acres of land. The General Services Administration, which acts as the federal government’s landlord, owns or leases 9,600 assets and maintains an inventory of more than 362 million square feet of space.
The Department of Transportation owns or leases approximately 69,500 real property assets – including land, buildings, and structures. There are more than 4 million miles of public roads in the United States. Amtrak, heavily subsidized by taxpayers, maintains over $17 billion dollars worth of infrastructure assets throughout its national rail passenger system.
There are approximately 1,700 miles of levees, 650 dams and 383 major lakes and reservoirs, 12,000 miles of commercial inland channels, and 75 hydropower generating facilities all owned by the federal government. The U.S. government also owns waterways leading to 926 coastal, Great Lakes, and inland harbors and 241 individual lock chambers at 195 sites nationwide.
“Sitting on Our Assets” focuses on improving asset management and reducing government waste, including in the following areas:
- The management of federal real estate and property under the General Services Administration
- Amtrak’s squandering the potential development of high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor
- The Federal Aviation Administration’s management of air traffic control facilities
- Utilizing innovative financing alternatives, including well-defined private sector participation, for infrastructure projects
- Expediting the project approval process for infrastructure projects
- Streamlining reviews of Army Corps of Engineers civil works projects and reducing costs of project permitting
- Reducing waste in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s emergency housing program
- More effective, efficient deployment of baggage screening equipment at airports
- Improving management of Tennessee Valley Authority assets and charge card program
- Operation of a leased training center for the National Transportation Safety Board
- Determining the future of a Coast Guard icebreaker fleet
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