Obama Seeks Money for Courthouse Projects

     (CN) - President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2015 budget request sets aside $745 million for the consruction of federal buildings such as courthouses.
     Whether the 113th Congress will adopt the $3.9 trillion budget is another matter.
     The U.S. General Services Administration said Tuesday that a cash injection would help repair the nation's crumbling infrastructure. After years of spending cuts, the GSA has had to forgo $4 billion in capital improvements, including repairs, maintenance and other modifications, to the federal buildings it manages.
     Obama's budget would give the GSA authority to spend more than $1 billion in incoming rent funds on renovations and smaller repairs.
     Part of a $745 million allocation would go to courthouse construction projects.
     The GSA leases the Robert Stafford U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in Rutland, Vt., from the U.S. Postal Service. The agency said it would buy that building for $6.4 million.
     Obama's budget will also cover the $40.5 million renovation of the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit.
     A GSA spokesman clarified that the budget does not include funding for the construction of a $117.4 million project in San Antonio, a $165.7 million courthouse in Charlotte, N.C., a $78.8 million courthouse in Greenville, S.C., and a $118.6 million construction in Harrisburg, Pa.
     Already approved by the Judicial Conference, the four projects will cost a total of $480.5 million.
     Obama budgeted $200 million to reduce the government's "footprint" in federal buildings, increase energy and water conservation efforts, improve safety, and cut energy costs and water consumption.
     The GSA said investment in the country's courthouses and buildings will save taxpayer dollars in the long run.
     "The president's budget includes the investments we need to help rebuild our nation's infrastructure, ensure that federal agencies can support economic and job growth in communities across this country, and provide vital and high quality services for the public," GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a statement. "I know that with this budget, we will contribute to delivering the efficient and effective government that the American people expect."