Senator Feinstein Proposes Segregated Fund for Smithsonian Maintenance

Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chairwoman Diane Feinstein (D-CA) this week proposed a $45 million public/private matching program for the Smithsonian Institution that would be dedicated solely to facilities maintenance and revitalization projects. Under the new Legacy Fund proposal, if the Smithsonian raised $30 million in private funds, the federal government would match those donations with $15 million additional federal dollars.

Senator Feinstein stated that she had been working with the Senate and House Interior Appropriations subcommittees to include money in the fiscal year 2008 budget for the Legacy Fund. She noted that since negotiations continue on the overall appropriations package, she could not ensure that the Fund will be enacted into law for the FY 2008 fiscal year.

The oversight hearing was convened to consider an updated report prepared by the Government Accountability Office on the state of the Smithsonian’s deteriorating infrastructure. The GAO found the Institution’s facilities and maintenance backlog had grown to $2.5 billion and that the Board of Regents had been slow to respond to its recommendations to develop a funding plan for facilities projects.