Georgia lawmakers are requesting an investigation of a State Department decision to construct a new training facility in Virginia that would cost taxpayers millions.
Sens. Johnny Isakson (R., Ga.) and David Perdue (R., Ga.) are calling for a federal review of the U.S. State Department proposal to build a new facility in Blackstone, Va.—a project estimated at $413 million.
"The proposed Virginia location for a training center for Foreign Service personnel would require taxpayers to fund the construction of an entirely new facility—a decision that the Office of Management and Budget admits was made by the Obama administration without the necessary cost-benefit analysis of options," a Senate press release said Monday.
The coalition, led by the two U.S. senators from Georgia, is calling on the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct an independent analysis exploring alternative options for the State Department facility, including the repair and retrofitting of an existing Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Brunswick, GA.
"As stewards of taxpayer dollars, we want to improve diplomatic security training efforts in a cost-effective, timely manner," the Georgia representatives wrote in a letter to the GAO. "We believe a thorough and impartial review of proposals is necessary to determine the option that best addresses State’s needs in a fiscally responsible manner."
In April 2014, the Obama administration confirmed that it planned to adopt the State Department’s plan to construct their new Foreign Affairs Security Training Center in Blackstone, however, Office of Management and Budget was never provided the necessary information to analyze whether constructing a brand new facility was cost effective the compared to alternative options.
The letter was signed by 13 Georgia lawmakers and was addressed to U.S. Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Gene Dodaro.
The original estimate for the proposed FAST-C State Department facility was estimated at $950 million before the project was reduced in scope and budget, now rounding out to $413 million—nearly double what it would cost to retrofit the Brunswick facility.
Requests for investigation by the Georgia representatives echo House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce’s (R., Calif.) pursuit of documents from the OMB on similar State Department expenditures.