Press Release

House Passes $1 Billion for Construction and Repairs of Federal Courthouses

Rep. Cuellar secures partial funding for new federal courthouse in McAllen

Washington | Charlotte Laracy, DC Press Secretary (202-226-1583); Alexis Torres, District Press Secretary (956-286-6007), July 31, 2020

Washington, D.C.—Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) helped secure over $1 billion for the construction and land acquisition for federal courthouses in the fiscal year 2021 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill. With that allocation of funds, the Southern District of Texas in McAllen Texas will receive partial funds to complete the project; about $98 million. To see Congressman Cuellar speak in the FSGG Appropriations markup in support of the funding for federal courthouses, click here.

 

The FY21 FSGG Appropriations bill passed the House today and now heads to Senate for a vote.

 

“Construction of a new federal courthouse in McAllen will help the federal government meet the needs of a growing case load as well as protect Judiciary officials working within the building,” said Congressman Cuellar. “This critical investment in the McAllen federal courthouse will address the security concerns, space constraints, aging infrastructure of the current federal courthouse. As a senior Appropriator, I will continue to fund programs that create transformational change to our community and ensure we can fulfill our duty to due process.”

 

“I want thank Appropriations Chairwoman Lowey as well as Appropriations Financial Service Subcommittee Chairman Quigley for working with me to secure these funds in the House Appropriations bill. I look forward to working with Senator Cornyn and Senator Cruz to ensure this bill is passed in the Senate.

 

Since 2010, Congressman Cuellar has worked with city officials to secure a new federal courthouse for McAllen. The Congressman secured a study in 2016 by the General Services Administration (GSA) to identify the feasibility of the construction of a new federal courthouse. The GSA study concluded that while the current facility located on U.S. Business 83 may be adequate for certain federal executive offices, the existing building is inadequate for judicial functions. Additional findings included security being an overall issue, especially regarding secure separation of judges, the public and prisoners. There is also not adequate room in the lobby for proper security screening.

 

GSA currently leases a building that is insufficient for adequate security and an increasing caseload. The City of McAllen has offered to donate land for a new courthouse at the site of the old Sam Houston School, at Jackson Avenue and 16th Street, a few blocks from City Hall. This is an ideal downtown location and such a building there would help to revitalize the south side neighborhood as well as create local jobs.

 

The federal courthouse construction program is administered by the judiciary and the General Services Administration. The judiciary establishes priorities for courtroom construction projects. Below are the judiciaries top construction projects, which includes a new courthouse in McAllen, TX.

 

GSA Federal Buildings Fund – Courthouse Construction List

Felonies and Class A Misdemeanors Caseload – 2019

 

District

City

Caseload

Funding Priority

SDTX

McAllen

2,282

6

DPR

San Juan

1,165

5

EDVA

Norfolk

550

7

MDNC

Greensboro

361

4

EDTN

Chattanooga

242

2

DCN

Hartford

160

1

WDKY

Bowling Green

48

3

 

 

District

City

Site/Design Cost

Construction

Cost

Estimated Total Cost

District of Connecticut

Hartford

$37.63 million

$233.54 million

$271.17 million

Eastern District of Tennessee

Chattanooga

$32 million

$157.11 million

$189.11 million

Western District of Kentucky

Bowling Green

$15.8 million

$51.1 million

$66.9 million

Middle District of North Carolina

Greensboro

$30.2 million

$214.1 million

$244.3 million

District of Puerto Rico

San Juan

$9.38 million

$176.12 million

$185.5 million

Southern District of Texas

McAllen

$27.49 million

$170.97 million

$198.46 million**

Eastern District of Virginia

Norfolk

$12 million

$104.7 million

$136.5 million

 

 

 

 

 

**The cost for the new courthouse in the Southern District of Texas will be less because the City of McAllen will donate the land. 

 

To read the language for the fiscal year 2021 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, click here.

To read more about the Federal Judiciary Courthouse Project Priorities for fiscal year 2021, click here.