Missouri U.S. Senator Josh Hawley wants to know why a new veterans’ clinic at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis is not open for business. The $366 million project was expected to open in 2017. During a stop in southern Missouri’s West Plains, Hawley tells KWPM he’s been fighting with the VA about the site.
“A lot of taxpayer money has been spent on this facility. After years of construction and spending, still not open for veterans. We’ve just got it sitting empty there and they won’t tell us why,” says Hawley. “I mean, we need answers. Our veterans deserve answers. Taxpayers deserve answers and they deserve the best possible care that we can give them. My job is to be a bulldog on this and to make sure they get it.”
St. Louis television station KMOV reports a letter the VA sent to Hawley’s office says the building has about 1,400 safety and quality issues that must be patched up. The department gave the station a different story. It said construction is “progressing” and is largely complete but is currently undergoing several routine updates required. The VA said the clinic should be opened in mid-to-late 2020.
This is not the only time the VA has been severely behind on its construction schedule. Several media reports cite a VA hospital in the Denver suburb of Aurora opening five years behind schedule and $1 billion over budget.
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