WASHINGTON, DC-In the aftermath of terrorist attacks against the Pentagon and New York’s World Trade Center complex, the federal government’s biggest property manager has told congress that now is the time to significantly improve maintenance of its properties. Administrator Stephen A. Perry, head of the General Services Administration, testified before a House subcommittee Monday about ways in which the federal government can defray the estimated more than $4 billion it would cost to upgrade GSA’s 1,800 owned buildings.

“We believe that changes to the property management statues are necessary to reflect the current needs of the government and the commercial marketplace,” Perry said in prepared comments to the House government reform subcommittee on technology and procurement policy. Specifically, Perry talked about changing laws to enable GSA to enter into more “public-private partnerships.” It was noted that the average age of a GSA-owned building is over 50 years old. The proposed legislative changes would affect the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949. The changes Perry suggested would allow federal property managers–across the government’s $260 billion inventory–to use private sector tools.

Changes would allow agencies to:

  • Exchange and transfer property among themselves and private-sector entities
  • Sublease assets on unexpired portions of government leases
  • Lease certain assets to the private sector
  • Explore creative financing mechanisms to help finance a backlog of public building maintenance needs.

    In Washington and the suburbs, GSA said the government owns 171 buildings and leases space at 430 locations. Overall, GSA manages 40 percent of the space the government owns or leases.

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