On June 12, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2010 Legislative Branch appropriations bill. The bill includes $60 million for a new Historic Buildings Revitalization Trust Fund to more evenly spread out the cost of repairing and revitalizing historic buildings within the U.S. Capitol Complex.
Under the bill, the Library of Congress would receive $647 million; $40 million above FY 2009 and $11 million below the President’s request, including $15 million to modernize the Library’s information technology infrastructure.
The Architect of the Capitol would receive $541 million; $81 million above FY 2009 and $27 million below the President’s request.
Within the amount provided to the Architect, the bill includes $60 million to establish a Historic Buildings Revitalization Fund. The fund is intended to be used only for very expensive projects involving buildings of “icon” status such as the repair of the Capitol Dome which is estimated to cost approximately $100 million and the revitalization of the 100 year old Cannon House Office Building which is estimated to cost in excess of $500 million.
The Appropriations Committee felt that the normal appropriations process was not an effective mechanism for addressing a backlog of this magnitude. The new Fund is designed to enable the Architect of the Capitol to move forward on large-scale historic building projects while preserving resources for routine but critical deferred maintenance and capital renewal projects.