WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved several measures Wednesday, including a lease renewal for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that will save taxpayers nearly $150 million, according to a press release from U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-11).

The proposal was the result of members of the Committee and the Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee, which Barletta chairs, insisting that federal agencies reduce their space footprint and cut costs.

"We're saving taxpayers $200 million on the NRC deal and the others we're agreeing to - on top of the $500 million we've already saved in this committee by making smarter use of federal properties," Barletta said.

Earlier this year, the subcommittee held a hearing that focused on the NRC's actions, in which they circumvented the full committee's $38 million authorization for additional office space and instead committed taxpayers to a $350 million new building (White Flint 3). "Despite obtaining this excessive and unnecessary new building, the NRC then requested to renew another expiring lease (White Flint 2) and essentially decided to walk away from the $350 million building," according to Barletta's release. "The committee refused this proposal, and instead required the NRC and the General Services Administration to propose options that would better utilize the NRC's space and save money."

The proposal authorized Wednesday renews the White Flint 2 lease, under the condition that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) backfills about 60 percent of the new White Flint 3. This will consolidate FDA employees from four locations with expiring leases, and improves the agency's utilization rate to 170 square feet/person.

And because the NRC's decision to first acquire the White Flint 3 space represented a more expensive rental rate than the committee would normally authorize, the FDA will pay the normal authorization level and the NRC has agreed to account for the difference. The proposal also improves the NRC's overall utilization rate to 200 square feet/person. This represents a savings of $145,815,390 over 15 years, according to Bartletta's office.

The Committee also approved several other GSA lease resolutions that will save taxpayers an additional $50 million.