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proposals which would provide the President with standby authority to initiate up to $2 billion of expenditures for capital improvements in the event of a future economic recession, and for an immediate $600 million capital improvements program in certain redevelopment areas and areas of substantial unemployment in our country.
The General Services Administration is in complete accord with the objectives of H.R. 10318 and the other identical bills pending before this committee which embody essentially the proposed "Standby Capital Improvements Act of 1962, which was transmitted to the Congress by the President on February 19, 1962. Furthermore, we are in complete accord with the amendment to H.R. 10318 proposed by the President in letter to the chairman of this committee dated March 26, 1962. Such amendment, as you know, would in essence authorize immediate initiation by the President of a $600 million capital improvements program limited to (a) redevelopment areas and (b) other communities which have been designated as areas of substantial unemployment for 12 months or more.
On Monday, March 26, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Dr. Walter Heller, testified before your committee in support of the President's legislative proposals and discussed this with the principal policy issues thereof. The Director of the Bureau of the Budget, Mr. David E. Bell, also testified before your committee on that day in support of the President's proposals and discussed with you the financing provisions thereof, the administration of the capital improvements programs involved, and the availability of eligible Federal Government projects which would be subject to the proposed legislation.
Since these basic and important matters have already been thoroughly discussed and dispensed with by the appropriate officials of the administration, it shall be the purpose of my testimony today to provide you and the members of your committee with more detailed information concerning the amount and types of capital improvements projects authorized by the Congress and programed by the General Services Administration, with particular emphasis on those projects which would be susceptible to acceleration under the provisions of H.R. 10318 and the President's proposed amendment thereto.
As you know, the public works programs of the General Services Administration are authorized under the Public Buildings Act of 1959 which provides for the construction, alteration, and acquisition of public buildings of the Federal Government throughout the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the possessions of the United States. The programs of construction and alteration of public buildings under the 1959 act afford public works involving needed capital improvements, the programing of which is susceptible to acceleration to stimulate the economy. The nature of the capital improvements involved are such that about 40 percent of the project cost would be for local construction labor in the trades and about 60 percent for equipment and materials usually procured from other than local sources.
GSA's construction program for fiscal year 1963, for which construction funds have been requested, includes 45 projects involving a total estimated improvement cost of $170.5 million. These projects range in magnitude from $123,000 to $31.8 million. Thirteen projects, which are under $527,000 each, involving a total improvement cost of $4.5 million could, under favorable conditions, be completed in 12 months. The design of each is complete or will be completed about September 1962. The remaining 32 projects are of such magnitude as to preclude their completion in a 12-month period after construction is initiated. Design of the 32 has been completed or will be completed early in 1963 with construction time for individual projects ranging from 15 to 30 months. There is submitted for the record a list of the 45 projects, identifying those 13 projects which would be susceptible to acceleration and which could under favorable conditions be completed within the 12-month limitation.
The General Services Administration has under intensive study a small public building construction program for consideration under the 1959 act involving about 100 buildings with a total magnitude of cost of about $30 million for site, design, and construction. Construction time for these projects would range from 10 to 12 months. Insofar as possible, prototype designs would be used for such projects. Even under an accelerated program 90 to 120 days would have to be added to the construction time to cover site acquisition, adaptation of the design to the site, advertising for bids and award of contract.
GSA's program for the alteration of existing public buildings throughout the United States involves a program of some 300 major projects to be accomplished in 1963 for which $37.7 million was requested in the 1963 budget. In addition an identified backlog of such projects in the magnitude of $331 million will remain after 1963. This backlog includes about 1,000 projects totaling $48 million for repair and improvement type projects, each of which could, under favorable conditions, be completed in a 12-month period. The balance of $283 million would require a longer period for design and construction. Furthermore, the nature of work is such as to not lend itself to performance in segments which could be completed in 12 months.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, let me point out that while the General Services Administration is in accord with the objectives of H.R. 10113, we would not favor its enactment.
As you know, two of the most important differences between H.R. 10113 and H.R. 10318 are the provisions in the former bill which would establish an independent Office of Public Works Coordination and Acceleration and the financing provisions of that bill.
We believe that the establishment of an Office of Public Works Coordination and Acceleration as contemplated by H.R. 10113 is neither necessary nor desirable in connection with the planning, coordination, and administration of a public works acceleration program. It is felt that such planning, coordination, and administration can best be handled through the existing agencies which now have program authority and which presently are engaged in public works or other programs on behalf of the President.
In lieu of H.R. 10113 we strongly recommend the enactment of H.R. 10318 amended as proposed by the President. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. (The table above referred to is as follows:)
Alaska, Juneau: Post office and courthouse...
and construction. Callfornia:
Bakersfield: Federal office building.
Calexico: Border patrol station.
Gainesville: Post office and court house.
neering and construction).
Tampa: Federal office building.
house (engineering and construction). Louisiana:
New Orleans: Federal office building (engi
neering and construction). Post office and courthouse (engineering and
Augusta: Post office and Federal office build
Houlton: Border patrol station headquarters. Massachusetts:
Boston: Federal office building.
Webster: Post office... Michigan:
Grand Rapids: Post office and courthouse
(engineering and construction).
Sault Ste. Marie: Border station
office building. Nebraska:
Grand Island: Post office and courthouse
(engineering and construction).
North Platte: Post office and courthouse. Nevada, Reno: Courthouse and Federal office
building. New Hampshire, Concord: Post office and court
Federal office building.
courthouse (engineering and construction). Ohio, Canton: Post office and Federal office
building (engineering and construction). Oklahoma;
Oklahoma City: Post office and courthouse
(engineering and construction).
Tulsa: Post office and Federal office building.
Pierre: Post office and courthouse.
Sioux Falls: Post office, etc. Texas:
Austin: Post office and Federal office build
neering and construction).
Mr. BLATNIK. That was a very concise and sound statement, Mr. Boutin, on the capabilities of your organization.
Are there any questions on my right?
Mr. CRAMER. I want to say that I think GSA has been doing a very splendid job in carrying out the intent and purpose of the 1959 Public Buildings Act, and I enjoyed very much my work with the GSA and all of the members of the committee in attempting to work out a bill which, I think, has accomplished a lot in this field on a well-planned program, and on pretty much of a liquidating basis rather than building up big inventories.
Is it not true that everything that could be accomplished under this $600 million amendment or the $2 billion bill could be equally accomplished so far as GSA is concerned, by a request to the Appropriations Committees on the part of your agency?
Assuming the President sets the machinery in motion, such as suggesting accelerated programs, you could accomplish it by making a request for authority to make these expenditures that you mentioned before the Appropriations Committee under the present law?
Mr. BoUTIN. Precisely that is true, Mr. Cramer, but I would like to comment on it.
As you know, from being one of the coauthors of our 1959 act, we always, under the procedure that has been set up, after authorization by this committee, have a backlog of certain projects which exceeds $100,000.
Also in our program, repair and improvement of public buildings, where we forecast over a 5-year period, based on relative urgency, what we are going to do on renovation, extension, or authorization of public buildings, we always have a substantial backlog:
We try to face this to the point of being reasonable in coming before Appropriations, asking for a segment of this every year. Mr. CRAMER. You could accelerate that if you wished, could you not?
Mr. BOUTIN. We could by asking for more money and, if it were given to us, yes.
But under the $600 million, any part of that that was turned over to GSA, we would have a ready backlog of many, many projects, as I
pointed out in my statement, that we could accomplish on an accelerated basis at any given time that this machinery was put into operation.
Mr. CRAMER. I understand that, but the same machinery could be put into operation by requesting the Appropriations Committee for such acceleration.
Now, to what extent are those projects or improvements tooled up to the point of accomplishment, from an engineering standpoint ?
Mr. BOUTIN. Well, taking first the prototypes that I mentioned, that we have under study, we actually could be in construction within 120 days on a great number of these after authorization under the 1959 act and funds are available.
On our R. & I. projects, the thousand projects that I mentioned, some of these have the design already complete and the remainder have design capability, and we have it spaced over a period of years, but we could within 60 to 90 days actually get construction underway.
Mr. CRAMER. Well, then, you have an available shelf of items already. Right?
Mr. BOUTIN. Right; through what is provided by this committee. Mr. CRAMER. Through the Appropriations Committee.
The suggested projects that could be accelerated, I notice, are largely smaller projects, obviously on the basis that you could complete them within a year, that then automatically eliminates the larger projects even though they may be in substantially depressed or unemployment
Is that not correct? It does not help areas where you have big projects ?
Mr. BOUTIN. Well, unless the amount appropriated, that we have available to us for the construction of the big projects, was taken away from us.
Taking this list as an example, actually the acceleration of the 13 small projects would have no bearing on the remaining 32 projects.
Mr. CRAMER. And the legislation would not authorize you to request acceleration or request construction of the larger projects because they could not be completed within a 12-month period. Is that right?
Nr. BOUTin. This is true with the only exception, Congressman, that I am presuming here that we would already have the appropriation.
It is different stages of financing, I think, that we are talking about.
Mr. CRAMER. Now, if these projects that you suggest could be implemented, how many of them are within the category of the $600 million proposal of depressed areas or area redevelopment areas?
Mr. BOUTIN. I do not know, Congressman. I did not check it on that basis.
Mr. CRAMER. Well, then, what if these projects that you submitted could not be constructed pursuant to the $600 million amendment?
Mr. BOUTIN. They may or may not be within such areas.
Well, of course, we aïways have, Congressman, the 1,000 that I referred to under the R. & I. program which is just a matter of odds. You are bound to have a great many of these in such areas.
Mr. CRAMER. Can you submit this list on the basis of justification for support of the legislation, and the $600 million is limited to depressed areas and area redevelopment areas? With reference to this list, which of them are within the $600 million limitation of unemployment and area redevelopment?