The Washington Times - August 2, 2012, 03:52PM

Budgets may be tight, but the federal government has increased its fleet of cars to 449,000 vehicles — or nearly one for every seven federal employees — according to the Government Accountability Office.

The Department of Veterans Affairs saw the biggest jump, adding 49 percent more vehicles between 2005 and 2011 — or even more than the Homeland Security Department, which was new in 2005 and has steadily grown since, including doubling the size of the U.S. Border Patrol.


The VA told GAO auditors that they have added more vehicles because they are providing more services for veterans, including more transportation for veterans to and from clinics and hospitals.

“According to VA officials, although the number of veterans declined overall, VA increased its program services to accommodate the increasing number of veteran health care recipients, including veterans with service-connected disabilities from fiscal years 2000 to 2011,” GAO said in a report released Thursday.

The Treasury Department and the Navy did the best at cutting their fleets, reducing vehicles by 13 percent and 17 percent respectively. The Interior Department also cut vehicles by 9 percent, and attributed its success to a concerted effort to reduce costs.

The fleets include both owned and leased vehicles.