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Carper Highlights Modernization Needs, Space Utilization During GSA Oversight Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today led a hearing to examine the U.S. General Services Administration’s efforts to right-size and modernize the federal real estate portfolio.

HIGHLIGHTS:

ON THE NEED TO ADDRESS UNDERUTILIZATION OF FEDERAL BUILDINGS:

“The General Services Administration (GSA) manages more than 363 million square feet spaced across the country in nearly 8,400 buildings. That’s the equivalent of 240 U.S. Capitol Buildings … Unfortunately, a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found an alarming amount of this space is currently underutilized. According to this report, federal headquarters buildings, on average, have an occupancy rate of only 25 percent … It’s clear that underutilization remains a problem, especially as many federal employees continue working remotely following the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as President Biden calls on more federal employees to return to the office, GSA must work with agencies to identify ways to consolidate, co-locate, and dispose of space to meet current and future needs.”

ON THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF MODERNIZING FEDERAL REAL PROPERTY:

“We know that GSA faces significant challenges when it comes to modernizing and right-sizing our federal buildings, but as I often say, in adversity lies opportunity … More than half of GSA-managed leases are set to expire by 2027. This is an opportunity for the agency to truly ‘right size’ our federal office space after years of just talking about it.”

ON THE OPPORTUNITY TO MODERNIZE FEDERAL BUILDINGS WITH A FOCUS ON CLIMATE:

“We also know that it’s possible to save the federal government — and our taxpayers — money, a lot of money, while tackling climate change at the same time. Last Congress, we provided GSA with robust funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act to modernize and right-size buildings in their portfolio. This includes making buildings more energy-efficient and resilient to climate change, as well as promoting the use of low-carbon construction materials.”

Click here to watch Chairman Carper’s first round of questions.

Click here to watch Chairman Carper’s second round of questions.

Click here to watch Chairman Carper’s opening statement.

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