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14 Projects Delayed for GSA Review : Spending: Move is part of program to 'reinvent government.' It affects court buildings in Santa Ana, Sacramento and San Francisco, and Border Patrol stations.

September 17, 1993|ROBERT W. STEWART | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — As many as 14 federal projects in California will be delayed--and possibly scuttled--by a cost review announced Thursday by the Clinton Administration.

The facilities include court buildings in Santa Ana, Sacramento and San Francisco, and new Border Patrol stations in Calexico and Tecate, according to documents released by the General Services Administration.

GSA Administrator Roger W. Johnson ordered the delay to ensure that the federal government does not construct or sign leases for new building space that it does not need, he said. Vice President Al Gore's task force on reinventing government, known formally as the National Performance Review, called for the moratorium in a report released last week.

"With the President's call to modernize and streamline the federal workplace, expanding the federal portfolio of office space . . . at this time seems contradictory," said Johnson, the Orange County businessman who broke ranks with local Republicans to become an early supporter of Clinton's bid for the presidency. Before taking the government job, Johnson was chief executive of Western Digital Corp.

California legislators have urged Johnson to accelerate the review to avoid protracted delays in what they said are much-needed projects. Referring specifically to the proposed courthouse in Santa Ana, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said: "Reducing the federal bureaucracy is laudable, but ignoring the federal government's responsibility to provide courthouses in underserved areas is foolish and unwise."

Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach), who is likely to seek Feinstein's Senate seat next year, and Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove), also urged Johnson to expedite the review, which could take up to six months.

The GSA, the government's purchasing and housekeeping agency, is responsible for maintaining more than 7,700 federal buildings across the country. The moratorium will apply to 188 projects with a value of $7.4 billion.

Johnson said the GSA will review each project to ensure that it is needed and cost-effective. The delays affect major building and renovation projects for which construction contracts have not been awarded and major federal leases that would result in construction of a building by a third party.

After a regional review, each project will be considered by GSA officials in Washington. If the agency wants to halt a project, it will seek permission from Congress.

In Los Angeles, the moratorium will delay plans to renovate and repair the Federal Building on North Los Angeles Street, which was constructed in 1964, and lease new offices for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Also on hold are plans to build a $168-million courthouse in Santa Ana, a $162-million courthouse in Sacramento, a federal office building in San Francisco and an annex for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, also in San Francisco.

The delay also affects plans to construct facilities for the Border Patrol in Calexico and Tecate, a laboratory for the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, and to renovate office buildings in Menlo Park and Sacramento.

Rounding out the list are plans to lease space for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services in San Francisco, and the Internal Revenue Service in San Jose.

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