Painting Postponed

Posted July 11, 2007 at 6:24pm

The Architect of the Capitol has scratched a major West Front painting project originally scheduled to take place during the August recess because of problems with the safety equipment meant to protect employees and contractors working on and around the Capitol’s roof. [IMGCAP(1)]

During a recent round of inspections, the AOC uncovered safety issues with its “roof fall protection system,” AOC spokeswoman Eva Malecki said.

“Therefore, as a precaution to ensure maximum safety for AOC and contract personnel, use of the [safety] system has been restricted while re-evaluations are under way and corrective measures, if needed, are taken,” Malecki said. “With the ongoing evaluation, the painting of the West Front could not be completed during the month of August as planned.”

Malecki added that the safety system in question is not being used for the ongoing Statue of Freedom or Dome rehabilitation projects. Because scaffolding has been erected for those efforts they are not impacted by the safety re-evaluation.

According to a solicitation notice released in May, the AOC was expecting to pay a contractor $500,000 to $1 million to prepare and paint all exterior window sashes and frames, all wooden surfaces of all storm sashes and frames, and all exterior doors and frames, ramps and enclosures of the West Front. The effort also would have included the painting of all grilles and all iron doors and gates on the West Front.

Medicaid Matters. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) reintroduced a bill Wednesday that would increase the federal contribution to Medicaid in order to relieve the burden placed on Washington, D.C., in funding the program.

Right now, D.C. provides a 30 percent contribution to Medicaid, while the federal government takes care of the other 70 percent. D.C. pays more than other jurisdictions because elsewhere cities, states and counties are able to split the cost.

Norton’s bill would lower D.C.’s funding to 25 percent and up the federal government’s contribution to 75 percent.

“The District’s continuing responsibility for most costs borne by entire states is a major component of the District’s structural deficit and threatens the stability of the city itself,” Norton said.

— John McArdle and Elizabeth Brotherton