In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, the government decided to build a brand new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security in southeastern Washington, D.C. The idea was that a centralized physical location would help close up the gaps between national security and intelligence agencies that allowed the attack to occur. The project was supposed to cost $3 billion and be completed by this year.
But so far virtually nothing has been built, according to The Washington Post; indeed, there is talk that the project will be canceled altogether. And yet the bill has already ballooned to $4.5 billion. It is a classic case of Washington dysfunction:
Bedeviled by partisan brawling, it has been starved of funds by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress and received only lackluster support from the Obama administration, according to budget documents and interviews with current and former federal officials.
The crippling shortfall in funding has created a vicious cycle, causing delays that in turn inflated the projected price tag as construction costs escalated over time and DHS agencies – still scattered in more than 50 locations across the Washington area – have been signing expensive temporary leases. [The Washington Post]
Ladies and gentlemen, your elected representatives.