Obama orders cuts in federal building costs, could affect thousands of leases
By Ed O'Keefe
By The Post's Ed O'Keefe and Jonathan O'Connell:
It soon could be lights out at thousands of government buildings across the country with President Obama scheduled to sign a memo Thursday ordering federal agencies to cut $8 billion worth of building costs by the end of the 2012 fiscal year.
The new orders could result in thousands of renegotiated or canceled leases and the divestment of government-owned office towers, courthouses, overseas embassies, storage warehouses and shacks along the Appalachian Trail. The ongoing closures and consolidations tied to the Defense Department's Base Closure and Realignment Commission would account for $5 billion of the savings, while the rest would come primarily from the departments of Energy, Homeland Security and Transportation, officials said.
The federal government is the nation's largest landowner, owning about 1.2 million buildings and other structures with a total annual operating and maintenance budget of $19 billion, according to the Office of Management and Budget. But an inventory process started during the George W. Bush administration has identified about 14,000 vacant structures and about 55,000 others that are underused.
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