U.S. Representative Daniel Webster (FL-08) issued the following statement after unanimous passage of his amendment to H.R. 5854, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, to require the necessary experience to complete much-needed construction projects:
"Veterans in Central Florida have waited too many years for a new full service medical facility to meet their healthcare needs. The problems associated with construction of the new Orlando Veterans' Affairs Hospital are severely disappointing. The project is well over a year behind schedule and hundreds of millions of dollars over the original budget. There are three other veterans' hospitals, and numerous smaller projects across this nation, that are suffering the same fate as Orlando's VA Hospital.
"My amendment will help correct future mismanagement of the construction process by insisting on having an experienced Director of Construction and Facilities Management who has a degree in architecture or engineering and professional experience in construction management. This expertise is already required by current law and will help ensure our nation's heroes have the medical care they deserve in a timely manner," said Webster.
Congressman Webster's amendment, which passed the House unanimously, prohibits funds from being used to compensate a person within the Department of Veterans' Affairs that does not meet the qualifications as established in Public Law 109-461. This law establishes the Office of Construction and Facilities Management role be filled by an individual who possesses both of the following: 1) Bachelor's or Master's degree in engineering or architectural design; and 2) Substantive professional experience in the area of construction project management.