Administration Announces Plan to Sell, Shutter Unused Federal Property

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The Obama administration has put forward a plan to close down unused federal facilities across the United States that relies upon an outside commission, similar to the one that helped create the policies for the Base Realignment and Closure plan.

There are an estimated 14,000 “surplus” federal facilities, properties that are unused and unneeded. Selling them or shuttering them could save as much as $15 billion over three years, according to a report in The Washington Post.

While some federal properties can be sold, there are others it would benefit the government simply to close.

“There are also properties that have little or no market value, things like surplus supply sheds and outdated FAA towers,” said Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients.

The commission will feature representatives from both the public and private sectors, Federal Times reported. Its recommendations would be subject to an up or down vote in Congress, which streamlines the process considerably.

Now, agencies must jump through hurdles — about 20 requirements — before federal property can be sold. Doing so is also often politically unpalatable.

“While local politicians and leaders love to reside over ribbon-cutting ceremonies, getting rid of property can be a much less rewarding experience,” Zients said, according to Federal Times.

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