- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 4, 2001

The Washington Convention Center Authority is "determined to get the building finished on time," said At-Large D.C. Council member Harold Brazil, a Democrat, and it has charged $21 million to the project's contingency fund to cover the cost of related rush projects.
"Essentially what they are doing is paying for some of the projects up front so they can be completed ahead of schedule; otherwise they would have to wait for all of the contracts to be finalized, which could take some time," said Mr. Brazil, chairman of the council's Economic Development Committee.
The $21 million, which represents a 3 percent budgetary increase, raises the cost of the new convention center from $756 million to $778.2 million but makes it unnecessary for the authority to ask the city for additional funds.
"There is almost a zero percent chance that any increases, be it in construction costs, materials or some unforeseen accident, will exceed our budget contingency," said Tony Robinson, center authority spokesman.
The increased costs will be reimbursed once the procurement process is complete and the contracts are finalized, he said.
"A three percent increase is pretty good when you consider some of the other building projects in the region, like the Wilson Bridge project, the Mixing Bowl project, and several Smithsonian projects," he said.
Most of the increase is due to rising transportation and construction costs, up by 9.5 percent from a year ago, according to the Department of Transportation.
The remainder of the increase is for the food service project, including installation of several kitchens for the general food staff and for the center's large, upscale restaurant. These costs will be reimbursed by the vendors who land contracts.
Completing improvement repairs to the Mount Vernon Metro Station, costs to rebuild roadway viaducts on Seventh and Ninth streets, NW, and costs for foundations, signage and canopy systems, round out the list of projects associated with the increase.

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