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Public Benefit Conveyance Legislation
After it is determined that excess real property is no longer needed by the Federal government, various statutes authorize conveyance to state and local governments and in some cases, to nonprofits at up to 100% discount for public benefit use. Some of the qualifying uses include public health, homeless assistance, education, park and recreation, correctional, law enforcement, emergency management, among others. Authorizing legislation for these various programs include the following:
Correctional Facility/Emergency Management Response Use
Title 40, U.S.C. 533 authorizes the Administrator of General Services, in his discretion, to transfer or convey to the States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof, surplus real and related personal property, without monetary consideration for:
  1. Correctional facility purposes. The Attorney General must determine the surplus real and related personal property to be required for such purposes by an authorized transferee or grantee under an appropriate program or project for the care and/or rehabilitation of criminal offenders as approved by the Attorney General.
  2. Law enforcement purposes. The Attorney General must determine the surplus real and related personal property to be required for any activity involving the control or reduction of crime and juvenile delinquency, or enforcement of the criminal law, including investigative activities, such as laboratory functions, as well as training.
  3. Emergency management response purposes. The Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency must determine the surplus real and related personal property to be required for emergency management response purpose, including fire and rescue services. The deed or other instrument of conveyance for property will require that all property to be used and maintained for correctional facility, law enforcement, or emergency management response (including fire and rescue services) purposes in perpetuity and may contain such additional terms, reservations, restrictions and conditions as may be determined by the Administrator to be necessary to safeguard the interest of the United States.
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Educational Use
Title 40 U.S.C. 550 authorizes the Administrator of General Services, in his direction, to assign to the Secretary of Education, as appropriate, for disposal of such surplus real property, including buildings, fixtures, and equipment situated thereon as is recommended by the appropriate Secretary as being needed for school, classroom, or other educational uses. The Act authorizes the appropriate Secretary to sell or lease such properties to States or their political subdivisions and instrumentalities, and tax-supported educational institutions, nonprofit educational institutions, or other similar institutions not operated for profit which have been held exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, and to fix the sale or lease value of the property to be disposed of taking into consideration any benefit which has accrued or may accrue to the United States from the use of the property by any such State, political subdivision, instrumentality, or institution. The principal restrictive provision in the instrument of conveyance requires the property to be used continuously for a specified period for the specific purpose stated in the application for the property made to the Departments of Education. Top
Highways
Title 23 sections 107 and 317 of the United States Code authorize the conveyance of lands, or interests in lands, owned by the United States, to any State for the purpose of interstate construction, reconstruction, improvement, maintenance, right of way or materials source. Property being conveyed for these uses must be requested by the Secretary of Transportation and must be authorized by the Secretary of the Department supervising the administration of such lands or the interests in such lands. The conveyance of such property shall be made to the state transportation department or such political subdivision thereof as its laws may provide, in the form of purchase, donation, condemnation or other form so long as it complies with the laws of the United States. Title 40 U.S.C. 1304(b) provides for the conveyance of lands or interest in such lands, with or without consideration to such state or political subdivision for the purposes of highway, street or alley widening. Top
Historic Monuments
Title 40 U.S.C. 550(h) authorizes conveyance to any State, political subdivision, instrumentalities thereof, or municipality, of all the right, title, and interest of the United States in and to any surplus real and related personal property which in the determination of the Secretary of the Interior is suitable and desirable for use as a historic monument for the benefit of the public. Conveyances of property for historic monument purposes under this authority shall be made without monetary consideration to the United States: Provided, that no property shall be determined under this authority to be suitable or desirable for use as an historic monument except in conformity with the recommendation of the National Park Advisory Board established under section 3 of the Act of Congress approved August 21, 1935 (16 U.S.C. 463) and only so much of any such property shall be so determined to be suitable or desirable for such use as is necessary for the preservation and proper observation of its historic features. Property conveyed for historic monument purposes may under certain circumstances be used for revenue producing activities to support the historic monument. All income exceeding the cost of repairs, rehabilitation, and maintenance shall be used for public historic preservation, park, or recreational purposes. Deeds conveying any surplus real property under this authority shall be used and maintained for the purposes for which it was conveyed in perpetuity and may contain such additional terms, reservations, restrictions, and conditions as may be determined by the Administrator to be necessary to safeguard the interest of the United States. Top
Homeless Assistance
Title V of the McKinney-Vento Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 11411), authorizes the identification and use of underutilized and unutilized property for use as facilities to assist the homeless as a permissible use in the protection of public health. The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development collects data on Federal properties and identifies those suitable to assist the homeless. The General Services Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services make suitable surplus properties available to private nonprofit organizations, units of local government, and States for use as facilities to assist the homeless. These properties are leased, deeded, or made available on an interim basis at no cost to approved homeless assistance providers. Federal land-holding agencies may lease/permit suitable underutilized property to approved homeless assistance applicants. Top
Negotiated Sale
Title 40 U.S.C. 545(b)(8) and(9) allows the Administrator of General Services to prescribe regulations to govern non-competitive disposals and contracts for disposals if the disposal will be to a state, territory, or possession of the United States or to a political subdivision of, or a tax-supported agency in, a state, territory, or possession, and the estimated fair market value of the property and other satisfactory terms of disposal are obtained by negotiation or otherwise authorized by law. Section 545(e)(A)(ii) requires an explanatory statement of the circumstances shall be prepared for each disposal by negotiation of real property that has an estimated fair market value in excess of $100,000. The prepared explanatory statement shall be transmitted to the appropriate committees of Congress for concurrence or approval in advance of the disposal. Top
Public Parks and Recreational Areas
Title 40 U.S.C. 550(e) authorizes the Administrator of General Services, in his discretion, to assign to the Secretary of the Interior for disposal, such surplus property, including buildings, fixtures, and equipment situated thereon, as is recommended by the Secretary of the Interior as being needed for use as a public park or recreation area. The Act authorizes the Secretary to sell or lease such properties to any State, political subdivision, instrumentalities thereof, or municipality, and to fix the sale or lease value of the property to be disposed of, taking into consideration any benefit which has accrued or may accrue to the United States from the use of such property by any such State, political subdivision, instrumentality, or municipality. Deeds conveying any surplus real property disposed of under this authority shall provide that the property shall be used and maintained for the purpose for which it was conveyed in perpetuity and may contain such additional terms, reservations, restrictions, and conditions as may be determined by the Secretary of the Interior to be necessary to safeguard the interest of the United States. Top
Port Facilities
Title 40 U.S.C. 554 authorizes the Administrator of General Services, in his discretion, to assign to the Secretary of Transportation for disposal, such surplus property, including buildings, fixtures, and equipment situated thereon, as is recommended by the Secretary of Transportation as being needed for the development or operation of a port facility. The Act authorizes the Secretary to convey properties at no cost to the States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or any political subdivision, municipality, or instrumentality thereof. Deeds conveying any surplus real property disposed of under this authority shall be made without monetary consideration to the Federal Government and provide that the property shall be used and maintained for the purpose for which it was conveyed in perpetuity and may contain such additional terms, reservations, restrictions, and conditions as may be determined by the Secretary of Transportation to be necessary to safeguard the interest of the United States. Top
Public Health Uses
Title 40 U.S.C. 550(d) authorizes the Administrator of General Services, in his discretion, to assign to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, as appropriate, for disposal of such surplus real property, including buildings, fixtures, and equipment situated thereon, as is recommended by the appropriate Secretary as being needed for use in the protection of public health, including research purposes. The Act authorizes the appropriate Secretary to sell or lease such properties to States or their political subdivisions and instrumentalities, and tax-supported medical institutions, hospitals, or other similar institutions not operated for profit which have been held exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, and to fix the sale or lease value of the property to be disposed of taking into consideration any benefit which has accrued or may accrue to the United States from the use of the property by any such State, political subdivision, instrumentality, or institution. The principal restrictive provision in the instrument of conveyance requires the property to be used continuously for a specified period for the specific purpose stated in the application for the property made to the Department of Health and Human Services. Top
Self-Help Housing
Title 40 U.S.C. 550(f)(3) authorizes the Administrator of General Services to assign to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (Secretary) surplus real property, including buildings, fixtures, and equipment situated thereon, as is recommended by the Secretary as being needed for providing housing or housing assistance for low income individuals or families. This amendment contains a "sweat equity" provision which requires that any individual or family receiving housing or housing assistance constructed, rehabilitated, or refurbished through the use of the property must contribute a significant amount of labor toward the construction, rehabilitation, or refurbishment. The Secretary is authorized to sell or lease surplus real property for housing or housing assistance to any State, political subdivision, or instrumentality of a State, or any nonprofit organization existing for the primary purpose of providing housing or housing assistance for low-income individuals or families. Top
Wildlife Conservation
6 U.S.C. 667b-d provides that, upon request, real property which is under the jurisdiction or control of a Federal agency and no longer required by such agency: (1) can be utilized for wildlife conservation purposes by the agency of the State exercising administration of the wildlife resources of the State wherein the real property lies or by the Secretary of the Interior; and (2) is valuable for use for any such purpose, and which, in the determination of the Administrator of General Services, is available for such use may, not withstanding any other provisions of the law, be transferred without reimbursement or transfer of funds (with or without improvements as determined by said Administrator) by the Federal agency having jurisdiction or control of the property to (a) such State agency if the management thereof for the conservation of wildlife relates to other than migratory birds, or (b) to the Secretary of the Interior if the real property has particular value in carrying out the national migratory bird management program. Any such transfer to other than the United States shall be subject to the reservation by the United States of all oil, gas, and mineral rights and to the condition that the property shall continue to be used for wildlife conservation or other of the above stated purposes or in the event it is no longer used for such purposes or in the event it is needed for national defense purposes title thereto shall revert to the United States. Top