Congress OKs deal to finish Denver VA hospital

Posted at 8:27 PM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 22:27:26-04

Congress has approved a deal to let the Veterans Affairs Department complete a long-delayed and over-budget medical center outside Denver, ending months of uncertainty about the future of the ambitious project.

The VA can now shift the $625 million it needs to finish the hospital from elsewhere within its budget after a series of votes on Wednesday in the House and Senate.

The deal also turns over big construction projects to the Army Corps of Engineers in the future because lawmakers don't trust the VA to manage them.

The Denver-area hospital is expected to cost nearly $1.7 billion, almost triple last year's estimate.

A Corps of Engineers study blamed the overruns on multiple design changes and a decision by VA officials to use a complicated contract process they didn't fully understand.

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