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What we have attempted to do is put stations in the center of town where they can serve the people, where they can buy the stamps and mail their packages. The processing of the mail will be on the outskirts of town where other vehicles can get to them without creating traffic jams. This is the basic operational characteristic that has been changed in the last few years.

Mr. GRAY. You say where the land is cheaper.
Mr. LEHNE. Outside of town.
Mr. GRAY. You call $165,000 an acre cheap?

Mr. LEHNE. It is comparative, Mr. Gray, with what it would cost downtown. I believe you quoted earlier yourself, $700,000 in Grand Rapids.

Nr. GRAY. Grand Rapids is not the Virgin Islands with 16,000 people.

Mr. LEHNE. The Virgin Islands are much more expensive property than Grand Rapids from what I have heard.

Mr. GRAY. The GAO report certainly does not show that this was the only location to place this facility.

There are many others. And what I am saying here for the record is that this was a hasty decision. It was made without any consideration of direct Federal construction. It was made without any consideration of the $200,000 plus that is going to be wasted on architectural and engineering fees.

It leaves the General Services Administration and the courts and the other agencies in that area in a limbo state of not having a justifiable project.

None of these decisions were made because you ordered the lease to be signed before you even talked to the GSA about pulling out.

That is the type of thing I am complaining about, and every single project we have looked into is replete with the same story, duplication, high costs, socking the taxpayer with extra millions in waste.

Who is going to pay for this?

This is not a pie in the sky thing. Every dime you spend comes out of the pockets of American taxpayers. It all comes from the same place.

Mr. LEHNE. Who is the user of the mail?

Mr. GRAY. You are going to have to take it out of the hide of the taxpayers to increase postal rates.

Much of that is due to the taking of the control away from the Congress, not that we want to have everything to say, but if you run into a situation like this where you need a facility, you could ask for a delegation of authority. You could have gone to the Appropriations Committee and gone to the Office of Budget and Management and said we need a number of dollars to do this job.

Unfortunately, the Postal Service was filled with so many problems that the Congress wanted to get rid of it and there was little debate other than my speech on the floor, very little debate about the public buildings program of the Post Office Department,

Yet, to me, that was the most important, because you have the authority now to go out and soak the taxpayers for $10 billion in debt, plus the interest on top of that. Just think of that_$10 billion.

Mr. LEHNE. That is the total that we can raise, not anything on top of that, sir, $10 billion.

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Mr. GRAY. Including interest?
Mr. LEHNE. I believe that is all we can raise.
Mr. GRAY. Let us take that as a fact.

Mr. LEHNE. That is a lot of money and we are vitally interested in cost.

Mr. Gray. Yet, the President vetoed recently a $2 billion, small by comparison public works bill, but can you tell me any difference in deferring a needed sewage project to clean up the Potomac or build a needed hospital because that is inflationary, and yet you are given a free hand to go out and spend $10 billion for postal buildings?

Is that any less inflationary?

Mr. LEHNE. I do not think we have a free hand. I think the legislation requires us to not exceed $1.5 billion in any one year. That is not quite a free hand as you indicate.

Mr. Gray. Let me refer to Mr. Kreger's testimony, where he states that the Postal Service now has a free hand to do what they please.

Did you read his testimony?
Mr. LEHNE. I read Mr. Kreger's testimony, and I read my own.
Mr. GRAY. He said free hand to do as you please.

You have a free hand. Is that right or wrong? If you do not have a free hand, how could you catapult the price of that new project in New York to $135 million? That is unconscionable.

Mr. LEHNE. We are vitally concerned, whether you want to admit it on the record or not. We are vitally concerned about the cost of these buildings.

We are doing our best to run a very, very efficient organization.

We are not changing sites for the fun of changing sites, to annoy people. We are doing it for what we believe are sound economic reasons and are going to result in less operating costs in the future.

Mr. GRAY. General, I have given you three, just three, of many, many instances where you have made changes that are extremely costly to the American taxpayer.

I have not had the first justification other than the fact it is crowded, not enough parking, et cetera, same old wornout excuses, and which are in direct opposition to our own reports when the initial project was presented to the Congress.

We know why these changes are being made. We know why. It is no secret. You know as well as I do why the changes are being made.

Mr. LEHNE. I think I have one opinion and not the same as yours. Would you care to state yours?

Mr. GRAY. I will be glad to state mine.

Congress placed a limitation on these projects, and now that you have to account to no one, you want to build what you think you need without any regard to cost.

No. 2, the President wanted freedom so he would not have to show your funds in his budget deficits. It is just that plain. Backdoor financing.

Our committee would never have allowed you to move the site at Carbondale.

Our people would never have allowed you to pull away from the Virgin Islands project and commit the taxpayers for $150,000 a year for 45 years. Never.

You have no regard for the money, and there is no use beating the horse any further.

It is my understanding that you are leaving the service, but I want to make the record crystal clear on behalf of my Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds that we resent the effrontery that Congress has been receiving.

We have been asked for no comment. We were never consulted about our feelings in regard to using the Army Corps of Engineers in constructing buildings. If that had been injected in the floor debate, that would have killed the proposal, and I have a great regard for the Corps.

I have served on the committee for 17 years, but if you think, mv friend, you are slow in your department in trying to build the buildings, wait until you get through with the Army Corps. The first year I came to Congress, we started a reservoir in my dis

a trict and it is just now filling with water, 17 years later.

If you think you are encumbered with red tape, wait until you get through with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Were we consulted ? Not one bit. The attitude has been like when you walked into my office with the news release, we are a free agent. You can do what you want to do.

I resent it very much, and unless there is any further questions, we do have a roll call vote, and I am about to miss it.

Mr. Lehne, I am very serions when I say this. I have had personal injury over this Carbondale facility. I hope I have an even temperament. I do not like to conduct hearings in this manner.

I remember a passage from the Bible that says “Cast your bread upon

the waters and it shall return." For 17 years I have cooperated with the Post Office Department and the GSA. There is not one single prospectus pending before my subcommittee asking for authorization.

I have acted in good faith, and since the day you people knew that you were going to be fully autonomous, you have had a complete and callous, willful disregard for this committee and this Congress.

I can tell you this, my friend, it will not be long until the Postal Service will be wanting some aid from the Congress.

The Postal Service, in my opinion, will never be a self-sustaining operation, and from the day of Benjamin Franklin, it was never meant to be a self-sustaining operation. It is a service. Why not make the FBI, the Army, the Navy and Air Force and everybody else bring back to the Government what it costs to sustain them? This is ridiculous, and if you are going to go out there and spend $10 billion on buildings and try to make this a self-sustaining operation, you are defeating your own purpose.

I want that as one man's opinion in the record, because I feel that, as long as we have this alienation of affection between the Congress and this new Postal Service, it is never going to succeed.

We cannot live without you. You cannot live without us. And, so far, it has been a one-sided romance.

As chairman of this subcommittee, I have not been consulted about one single thing. I have tried in my most consistent way in my 17 years to help better the Postal Service and build facilities, and I have not had the same cooperation from the people downtown.

I understand you are leaving the Postal Service, but this is directed to the people downtown. If they want some cooperation from us, they are going to have to give some.

Any other questions or comments!

If not, the subcommittee will stand adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.

(Whereupon, at 4:50 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned, to reconvene at 10 a.m., Wednesday, July 14, 1971.)

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