Turn Them On, Leave Them On


At 6.6 million square feet the Pentagon is often billed by the military as “the world’s largest low-rise office building.” The massive amount of square footage in this building alone translates to miles of hallway space alone, but it is dwarfed by the amount of federal property that sits unused every year. If underutilized federal buildings were converted into Pentagons, you could line up 68 of them end-to-end and just barely have enough room.

Many of these buildings, if not severely underutilized, sit empty but still require the normal upkeep that goes along with running a fully functional building. In 2010, GAO found several buildings that were not only empty, but were set for demolition and yet were maintained at taxpayer expense. One such building owned by the Veterans Affairs Administration cost $20,000 a year to operate. A warehouse owned by the General Services sat completely empty from 2008 through 2011, during which time the agency spent nearly $2 million on it.

Each year, the government spends at least $1.5 billion maintaining properties that it no longer needs. A radioactive property and a property with a collapsed roof are just two examples of government property in serious disrepair. How does GSA rate these rundown buildings? Excellent condition of course!

Information found for this “Your Tax Dollars @ Work” post was done by using a Google search. Information compiled from multiple public websites & media outlets.