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VA Facilities Struggling with $22B Maintenance Backlog

March 15, 2021

A growing maintenance backlog at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities is causing the agency to struggle with balancing everyday building upkeep with the need to modernize VA hospitals.

The VA estimates it would take at least US$22 billion to repair poor or failing conditions at its facilities,
Federal News Network reports. The same backlog was at $10 billion 10 years ago. 

The VA’s buildings are, on average, 60 years old, and 69% of the department’s main hospitals are at least 50 years old. According to the department’s estimates, the VA needs between $49 billion and $59 billion to fund the major and minor construction projects it has identified as part of its long-range capital action plan.

Congress authorized $3.6 billion for VA construction projects in fiscal 2021 and made similar investments in recent years. But the revenue hasn’t been enough to make a dent in the VA’s maintenance backlog or to replace or modernize facilities that are failing to meet 21st-century health care needs.

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