By Sandra Basu
ORLANDO, FL — After four years of construction on a new state-of-the-art VA Orlando Medical Center, lawmakers want to know why the VA and the contractor still cannot agree on a delivery date for the new facility.
“Since January, VA has been telling us that the medical center is 60% complete and on track to open in 2013, even though the contractor has repeatedly stated that construction is not 60% complete nor is VA’s timeline realistic,” said Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, at a hearing on the topic held at University of Central Florida College of Medicine.
Construction began on the new multimillion VA Orlando Medical Center in October 2008, with the opening slated for this month. Now, however, the facility may not be complete until a year from now or even longer.
Construction began on the new multi-million-dollar facility in October 2008, with the opening slated for this month. Now, however, the facility might not be complete until a year from now, or even longer, as VA and the contractor, Brasfield & Gorrie, blame each other for the delays.
Further frustrating Florida lawmakers is that VA and the contractor continue to provide different timelines for when the project will be finished, even though the project had an extremely long planning period.
“This is a project that is over three decades in the works,” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) reminded everyone at the hearing.
“A lot of veterans feel it is taking too much time and, if we have the money, what is the issue?” questioned Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL).
Reason for Delays
Both VA and the contractor testified that the medical center would be a high-quality facility, once completed, but have disagreed for some time on when the project would be completed.