VA deserves strong construction budget, but don’t reward bad contractors

Several veterans groups are calling on the new Biden administration to increase the budget for VA construction projects around the country, including medical facilities. The request is $4 billion up from half of that according to the report (story HERE).

That’s a respectable request. I hope the President considers it.

But I am a litter more concerned than my fellow brothers and sisters over why this increase is needed to begin with.

It’s because a lot of these projects, including some with serious safety concerns are caused by bad work. Bad contractors. We’re talking about project leads that continue to “kick the can down the road”. When this happens, they milk us for more money.

In my hometown of Orlando, we also see this for other projects including interstates and even performing arts centers.

“We’re not going to get that done in time. Oh, by the way, here’s another invoice.”

And in the meantime, veterans aren’t getting the care they deserve and the taxpayers keep giving these guys more money.

Everyone loses except for the contractors.

I remember a few years back, when the VA Hospital at Lake Nona was delayed years.

Let me repeat that. Years. Because of construction delays and labor disputes.

It finally got done, but we still don’t know how many more millions were lost while veterans were stuck in an overcrowded Lake Baldwin facility.

We should still applaud these veterans groups. And I stand with them in helping these projects get done.

But let’s ask a few more questions before we give these contractors more money.

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